Winter Proofing Your Home for Maintenance and Safety (Part 1 of 2)

Cleaning the rain gutter during autumn, horizontal

Solutions for Inside the Home

Fall is truly glorious in Atlanta, and perfect for day trips, leaf viewing and doing anything and everything you may have put off because of the hot Atlanta summers.

One thing we all need to add to the list is to give your home an annual checkup to make sure that it is safe, energy efficient and in good working order. It’s a wonderful way to take care of your friends and family and get your membership in the “Good Homeowner Club”.

Not sure what all you should do? Here’s your Fall Checklist for Outside the Home. In the next blog post we will cover things to do Inside the Home.

Clean Out the Gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so mainly heavy rain, but also (the occasional) melting snow and ice can flow freely. Water needs to drain properly to prevent seeping into the house.
Remove the Leaves. Remove leaves and other debris from your drainpipes and gutters to prevent clogging

Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow, heavy rain, and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break – damaging your home or car, as well as injuring someone walking on your property.

Clean the Fireplace and Chimney. You can clear out ash and charred wood from the fireplace yourself, but leave the chimney cleaning to a professional. Have the chimney cleaner check the damper to ensure it can be tightly closed to prevent drafts.

Inspect the Vents. Do a survey of your home’s heating vents to make sure they’re not blocked or covered by furniture, carpeting, or curtains. Dust all the vents and clean all filters.

Book an Appointment. It makes sense to purchase a maintenance plan from a heating and air provider to perform an annual checkup on your system. Sarah and Lisa recommend the following providers.

Cunningham & Associates
TruComfort – Charles Cope
RS Andrews AC, Heating & Plumbing
Reliable Heating, Air & Plumbing

Check for Drafts. Reduce your heating bills by examining windows and doors for cracks. Sarah and Lisa highly recommend Window Replacements of Georgia.

Quick Fixes for Windows

  • Apply V-seal weather stripping. For an easy fix, add this plastic weather stripping along the sides of the sashes. Windows can open and shut even with the V-seal in place. Cost: $5.50 per window.
  • Add rope caulk. Old window sashes shrink with age, leaving plenty of room for drafts. For a quick fix, apply rope caulk to any cracks. This soft, sticky stuff can be molded to suit the gap — and removes easily at the end of the season. Cost: $5 for 30 feet.
  • Apply shrink film. Applied with double-sided tape, this clear plastic sheeting shrinks drum-tight when heated with a hair dryer. The film seals off drafts and captures an insulating buffer of air. Use rubbing alcohol to help release the tape in the spring to avoid pulling off paint.
    Cost: $2 for a 42-by-62-inch window.
  • Fill cracked panes. Nail polish to the rescue! If carefully applied, polish fills the crack almost invisibly. Once hardened, the polish will stabilize the glass until you can replace it in the spring. Or, apply clear weather-seal tape to the crack. Cost: About $4.
  • Add a draft snake. If the bottom of your window leaks cold air, buy a foam-and-fabric draft snake kit. Cut the 36-inch foam tube provided to length and slip the washable cover over it. Then place the snake on the sill and shut the window on it to seal the deal. Cost: $6 per window.

If you need help deciding whether you need to repair or replace, check out Green America’s guide.

Long-Term Solutions

These options require a greater investment in time and money, but will shut down leaks permanently.

  • Replace loose or missing glazing. The glazing putty that seals window panes can crack and fall out with time. Doing a great job of glazing takes practice, but even a mediocre job will do a lot to eliminate leaks.
    1. Begin by removing all the old putty.
    2. Detach the pane and add a bed of fresh putty.
    3. Gently press the glass into the putty and add glazing points — small metal points that push into the sash to secure the pane; push points into place with a flat-bladed screwdriver.
    4. Apply a long thin roll of putty and use a clean putty knife to smooth it in place. Plan on doing this chore in warm weather. Cost: About $5 per window.
  • Replace the window. A worn or rotting window is simply past its useful life. Replacing old windows is a job for a pro. You’ll be able to take your pick of low-maintenance frame materials, as well as low-E and insulated glass options. Cost: About $600 per window.
  • Consider Storm Windows. If you have removable screens, now’s the time to clean, store, and replace them with storm windows

Sarah and Lisa have many trusted resources to help you with winterizing and protecting your home for the season. You can see their complete list of professionals, under their Concierge Services here.  And as always, check with them for any and all our real estate questions and needs. They would love to help!