Get Your Home Winter Ready

Tama Lamm
Published on October 11, 2018

Get Your Home Winter Ready

The winter in McCall, Idaho and Valley County is not for the faint of heart but with a bit of preparation, you and your home can stay happy and warm this winter season. These simple steps will get you off on the right track so before the weather turns cold take a bit of time and it will pay off big time. Let’s start from the ground up.

Step By Step Guide to Get Your Home Winter Ready. 

Step 1: Close all foundation vents to prevent moisture getting into the crawlspace. Open them up again in the Spring to all for ventilation and to reduce the possibility of mold. 

Step 2: Protect pipes from freezing by adding pipe insulation to pipes that are vulnerable. Disconnect garden hoses and store inside or under cover.

Step 3: This may seem obvious, but make sure all windows close tightly. One window that does not fully latch will allow your warm air out and the cold air in. This will drastically increase your heating bill and decrease your overall comfort. October is a great time to make sure all windows (and doors!) will fully close, lock, and seal. If windows are not closing properly, consider replacing the crank mechanism for a casement window. Another option is to consider is covering your windows with plastic. This may not be the most attractive option, but it will help reduce your heating bill and improve general comfort. If many of your windows and doors are not closing properly, call us to discuss replacement.

Step 4: Test your heating system, have it cleaned, and replace the filter. There are a wide variety of heating systems widely used here in the McCall area. Baseboard, wall units, gas or electric furnaces and of course, wood stoves. This month is a good time to make sure that your heating system is working at tip-top performance.

Baseboard and Wall Units:

  • Clean dust from each unit with a vacuum.
  • Turn on to make sure each is unit and thermostat is working properly. Units that are not working properly can cause fires or allow pipes to freeze so it is much better to check them now then to find out after a problem occurs. If you are ready to upgrade, check out these modern units ductless from Carrier.

Gas or Electric Furnace:

  • Vacuum out floor ducts to prevent dust and debris from spreading. 
  • Test your unit by turning up the thermostat until the unit turns on. Wander through the house to make sure you can feel air coming from each vent. If not, there may be a blockage, or you may need to adjust duct controls if you have them.
  • Fill your propane tank. The propane companies are offering pre-winter discounts so fill your tank before prices rise! Ed Staub and AmeriGas are both available in our area.
  • Change your filter. This simple and easy step will help your furnace run at peak performance. Be sure to monitor your filter throughout this season of heavy use. A clean filter will ensure clean, warm air throughout your home all winter long.

Step 5: Clean gutters. Not many homes in the McCall area have gutters but if you do, clean them out now to insure proper drainage and reduce the chance of water and ice buildup.

Step 6: Install heat tape in roof valleys and in gutters. Does your home have ice dam issues? These can cause major home damage!  To reduce the chances of ice dams, consider installing heat tape in the valleys or along the edge of the roof. If ice dams are a major problem on your home, consider taking larger steps towards prevention. Increasing attic ventilation and/or  insulation can be a large undertaking but it will be worth it over the long haul. This article from The Spruce provides a more thorough explanation. Give us a call to discuss ways to decrease ice dams on your property.

Photo by The Spruce

Step 7: Call your local plumber or landscaping company to winterize your sprinkler system. This modest expense of calling in a professional will pay off big time next season and you will dramatically reduce the chance of broken sprinkler pipes and heads.

Step 8: Put away your patio furniture and flower pots. If space is not available to store these items in a garage or shop, make sure to cover them with a plastic tarp and if possible get them off the ground to avoid water damage to legs and bases.

Step 9: Gather or purchase firewood. Follow these tips from Art of Manliness on the best way to stack your firewood. 

Photo courtesy of Art of Manliness

For additional ideas to get your home ready for the upcoming cold weather, follow the advice from everyone’s favorite handyman