Here’s a great list of tips you can use as a check list of “to-do” items this winter.
- Install extra insulation. Install plastic sheets on windows requiring extra protection from the wind (kits are widely available at hardware stores or home centers). Add weather stripping around doors if necessary.
- Prepare for snow. In snowy areas of the country, make sure your shovel or snow-blower is in good condition. If necessary, use a rock salt-sand mixture to de-ice the driveway and walkways.
- Patch and paint. Inspect interior walls and ceilings for holes or cracks. Patch and paint as necessary. Watch for bubbling or cracking, which could indicate water damage.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test each unit, and replace batteries if needed.
- Repair indoor woodwork. Fill any holes or damaged areas with wood putty, then sand and refinish the surface.
- Maintain appliances. Unplug the refrigerator and clean it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Vacuum the condenser coil in the back or bottom of the refrigerator for better energy efficiency. If the drain pan is removable, clean it in soapy water. Clean the inside of the dishwasher, the stove exhaust fan, the inside of the oven, and the microwave.
- Inspect bathroom caulking. Remove and replace crumbling caulk around the bathtub, sink, or toilet. Make sure no moisture is leaking under the bathtub or shower stall.
- Protect pipes from freezing. Insulate any water pipes that are exposed to extreme cold (check pipes on the north side of house particularly). Cover outdoor water faucets.
- Plan home improvement projects. Plan and budget major home improvement projects, such as painting the exterior of the house, building a patio, or making landscape changes. Check with your local building department to see if your projects require permits. In late winter, call contractors to submit bids.
- Clean and organize the basement. Sweep the floor and clear out cobwebs. Check stored items for moisture damage. Build or purchase storage shelves. Tidy up work areas. Start flower and vegetable seeds in seed trays under lights.
Bob Beisbier, owner of BK Home Inspection, is a Certified Master Home Inspector who has been providing professional and thorough home inspections in southeast Wisconsin for over 12 years. Bob is Infrared certified, DILHR Certified, and provides Home Energy Tune-ups, Environmental Data Reports, Pre-sale Home Inspections and Pre-offer Home Inspections.