Winter is upon us with snow on the mountains and the crisp, cold air blowing across the valley its time to bring out the heavy jackets and mittens … but what about protecting your home from the cold winter days?
We have come up with a few tips on how to protect your home and your landscape from the bitter winter cold …
Tips for the inside of your home
First thing, check and test your furnace for proper operation. If the furnace is bad, it is best to find out early and get it repaired than to be without heat during the cold winter months.
The best way to winterize your home, inside and out, is to locate possible air and water leaks. This will not only save on utility bills but it will also keep the cold out! Simple ways to accomplish this are to use a garden hose on the exterior of your home to help identify water leaks. The inside can be a bit tricky but an incense will help to locate air leaks and drafts inside your home and you can seal up those air leaks with caulking or weather stripping around doors and windows that have drafts. Adding insulation to areas such as the attic will also help to keep the cold out and lower utility bills all year long.
If you didn’t know, typical ceiling fans come with a reverse switch. By reversing the spin of the blades, warm air will be pushed down, which will keep the house a little warmer in the winter. How do you know if the air is being pushed down or pulled up? In the winter, a typical fan should be spinning in a clockwise motion (if you are standing under it and looking up) in order to push the warm air down. Just reverse the blades to spin in a counter clockwise direction to reverse the effects of air circulation.
If you have a vacation home in a place where freezing temps are normal, turn off water valves to washing machines to avoid a line break and set the heat to about 55 degrees while you are away. This will help protect pipes and houseplants.
Tips for the exterior, including the landscaping
Wrapping the exterior pipes and hose bibs are a critical part of winterizing your home. A burst pipe can be a huge unexpected expense and an even bigger mess to clean up. Before freezing over-night temperatures hit, wrap or insulate your pipes and anti-syphon valves.
Turn on your sprinklers to check for broken emitters, sprinkler heads or pipes and adjust them as needed to correct over spray onto sidewalks to avoid slip and fall incidents.
Adding mulch around the base of your plants will allow for a better moisture barrier. What does that mean? Less watering is needed because the mulch acts as a barrier, preventing the water from evaporating – all of which in turn reduces the opportunity for freezing at the base of the plants, ultimately preventing plants from freezing.
It is also a good idea to do a deep root fertilization treatment in the fall to promote a healthy blooming season.
If you notice damage to plants from freezing, just leave it alone until it starts to warm up and new growth appears. Trimming back damaged areas of a plant in mid-winter may kill the plant.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of the Shelter Management Group (SMG) team, we would be happy to help! Contact us at 702-818-4780 or info @ smghoa.com.
Article Authored By: Jamie Collins, Supervising CAM, CMCA, AMS agent at Shelter Management Group (SMG)