The Most Effective Ways to Winterize Your Northwest Home
Nearly every winter without fail, my parents lose power for an unpredictable length of time, from a few hours to several days. They live in a lovely home in the woods in Gig Harbor, and their house is surrounded by tall evergreens, which, though beautiful, tend to topple over or drop large branches onto the power lines whenever it’s windy or snowing.
Also every year without fail, my siblings and I gently suggest that they invest in a generator. (One year my brother even bought them this baby for Christmas.) My parents always reply that generators use too much power, are noisy, etc., and insist that they like living Little-House-on-the-Prairie-
It is true, however, that you don’t have to go to the extremes of buying a generator to winterize. Here are the most effective ways to prepare your Pacific Northwest home this winter.
Gutters, downspouts, sprinklers, and hoses
Clear your gutters of any debris that has collected throughout the fall. This is especially important for Northwest homes, which experience large volumes of rain throughout the winter months. To make this task easier, you can pick up a gutter-cleaning attachment for your hose or leaf blower at Home Depot or Lowes for $20. To make sure debris doesn’t get into the freshly cleaned gutters, you can install a leaf guard.
Also, make sure all the downspouts are pointed to direct water away from your home, at least seven feet away from the foundation. This prevents your basement from flooding!
Finally, while you’re out in the yard, don’t forget to turn off all your outdoor pipes and sprinkler systems to prevent the pipes from freezing or leaking.
Inspect and re-caulk your exterior windows. As The Seattle Times mentions, “A typical home with no exterior caulking allows so much air to enter that it is like having a window open all year long.”
To make this task easier, invest in a caulking gun like this popular model. I had no idea it was possible to get excited about a caulking gun until I read these Amazon reviews.
Furnaces and wood-burning appliances
Home inspectors suggest that a certified chimney sweep inspects and cleans your chimney twice a year. If, like my family, your home tends to lose power every time the temperature drops below 35 degrees, this winterizing step ensures that you and your family stay warm, toasty, and safe.
Also, be sure to change your furnace filter every two to three months. A dirty filter can damage the furnace fan and increase your heating bill.
If you have cash to spare, you might also invest in a programmable thermostat. Energy Star reports that programmable thermostats can help you save 10 to 30 percent on your energy bills. Google’s sleek Nest Thermostat learns your ideal temperatures so it can program itself, automatically turns itself down when no one’s home, records your energy history, and even lights up when you walk into the room (what a sweet, albeit slightly strange, confidence boost!). Sort of like having your very own loyal house-elf?
One last winterizing step is to get in touch with Pickett Street, especially if you’re interested in buying or selling a home this winter. Contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425) 502-5397.