California winters may be mild, but it’s still important to perform home winterization tasks, and the fall season is the best way to do it before the weather starts changing. Here are a few things you can do to get your home prepped for the coming season.
Test Your Furnace
Taking your central heating system for granted can be a risky move. When a furnace isn’t properly maintained, it performs less efficiently, resulting in higher energy bills and a higher likelihood of malfunction and subsequent safety hazards. To prevent these issues, make sure to run a few maintenance checks on your furnace. Test it early to ensure that you have enough time to have it fixed before the season starts. Check your furnace filter and change it as necessary. To get better air filtration, consider upgrading to one with a MERV (Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 9 or higher. Finally, have your furnace inspected and serviced by a professional to ensure your system is working properly and rule out any potential hazards.
Check for Drafts
Drafts in your home mean higher energy bills, since heating the home takes more energy. Maximize your home’s insulation and reduce drafts by adding extra insulation to your attic and/or crawlspace. You can also testing your doors and windows for any gaps or leaks that you find. You can take this chance to weatherproof them as well by putting weather stripping on the insides of doors and windows. Not only will this provide additional protection against air transmission from outside, it will also help to keep heat from leaking out. If you can, putting in energy-efficient window treatments as well.
Have your Roof Inspected
Winter weather can hurt your home’s roof; high winds and heavy rain can cause strain, and excess leaves or debris could clog gutters and create build-up on the roof. Not only will a damaged roof significantly impact your home’s value, it will also be easier (and cheaper) to take action now before issues happen in the colder months. Schedule a roof inspection so a professional can thoroughly inspect your roof’s condition and make recommendations. Make sure they also check for missing or loose shingles, blocked gutters or potential sources of mold and decay.
Clean Your Chimney
Your chimney should be checked at least once a year, especially if you plan to use your fireplace to stay warm this winter. A blocked or damaged chimney could heat your home unevenly and increase your utility bill, but a much bigger risk is it is a potential fire hazard. If you want to, you can try to clean the chimney yourself. But of course it will be easier and safer to hire a chimney cleaning company to inspect and clear your chimney and fireplace.
Prevent Water Damage
Water damage can cause a lot of problems once the colder weather starts, so make sure you take preemptive measures even before the temperature falls. Clear your gutters out to ensure that any precipitation flows cleanly. Obstructed gutters can result in dams which can damage your roof or cause water to leak inside. Keep your pipes warm, since frozen water pipes are likely to rupture and result in major trouble for your house.
Prepare Your Yard
Changing seasons will impact your garden no matter where you live, so it’s important that you prepare your garden before the cooler weather makes it more difficult to handle the ground. Consider bringing your more fragile plants indoors and remove any annuals you have planted. Now will also be a good time to put away any seasonal furniture and store all your gardening tools so they don’t rust or wear down before the spring. If there are falling leaves, you can clear them out as well so they don’t suffocate your lawn.