Preparing the House for Winter

Preparing the house for winter begins from the ground up. Start by filling any low areas around the house with a top-soil/clay mixture. Make sure downspouts extend at least five feet from the home. This will drain water away from the house effecting a dryer basement. This waterproofing the basement is first. Window insulation kit article.

A well-caulked driveway will also help keep the basement dry. All the water that collects between the driveway and the house could be running down the wall to the footings.

When water flows against the basement wall to the weeping tiles it carries some soil with it. The missing soil undermines the driveway and causes the cement to sag towards the house. As the cement sags towards the house it creates a funnel sending even more water to the house. It is a cycle repaired by mud jacking the drive so water drains away from the house.

Then we want to keep water from getting under the cement. If dirt below the driveway is wet, it will heave more when frost comes this winter. The dryer the dirt, the less it will expand when it freezes. Pre-fill the cracks with spray foam or backer rod and then seal with tar, cement caulk or liquid crack filler.

Washing the windows is not energy saving but checking the storm windows for broken parts while you are washing will.

Check the caulking around the windows, doors and thresholds. Drafty windows can be the cause of an uncomfortable area in the house. (Don’t caulk the bottom rail of the storm windows. Water must be allowed to drain out or the sill will rot) so get the latex caulk when you purchase the foam and cement caulk for the driveway.

So maybe you needed a ladder to caulk those windows, how about jumping up on the roof and checking the flashing around the chimney? A little tar and some membrane cloth now could save ceiling and paint repair later.

While you are on the ladder make sure the gutters are clean. A buildup of leaves can cause water to overflow that can damage the fascia and overhang.

Next I move to the furnace. Check and change or clean the air filter. Then open up the humidifier and replace the media if need be. Check for mold or slime in the unit and clean well. You can use an additive to keep bacteria and calcium from forming.