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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Shymko

How to Prepare Your Home for California Winter

Whether you're looking forward to colder days or are still coming to terms with the end of summer, winterizing your home should be top of mind. California winters can be relatively mild compared to other parts of the country but this doesn’t mean you can sit back and be relaxed about maintenance. By performing a few annual maintenance tasks you can avoid costly repairs, save on utility bills and ensure that your family stays safe and comfortable throughout the season.

Here are a few winter maintenance must-dos:

Clean your gutters, drains and downspouts

There are a lot of trees in California and chances are leaves, needles and other debris has landed on your roof. Debris and heavy rain can cause gutters to fill up quickly and drains to clog, leading to water overflow, rotting fascia boards and structural damage to your roof. Thoroughly remove built-up debris from your gutters, test drains and downspouts before winter to avoid any wet surprises! Make sure windows and doors are weatherproof.

You’d be surprised how much heat can escape through small spaces in your windows and doors. To avoid unnecessary energy spend and to keep your home breeze-free, make sure all of your window and door hardware is latching securely and that any loose or missing weather stripping is replaced.

Service HVAC and radiant heat systems in your home

The weather outside might be frightful but your HVAC and radiant heat systems should be delightful. This is an easily overlooked service when things have been operating smoothly. But spending a little money to service your HVAC, radiant heat and changing filters regularly can extend the lifespan of your systems and ensure they are working efficiently when you need them most.

Clean your chimney and fireplace

Before you start roasting chestnuts on an open fire, be sure your wood burning fireplace is safe for use. Without proper cleaning and regular safety checks your chimney can build up dangerous debris or develop cracks which significantly increases the risk of fire. Here is a checklist of what should be done -

  • Sweep your chimney annually and inspect for creosote buildup

  • Check your chimney inside and out for cracks

  • Make sure your rain cap is in good condition

  • Test your damper to make sure it opens and closes with ease

  • Check for any tree limbs that are encroaching on your chimney

  • Clean out old ashes from the firebox

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Test with a small fire and generally keep your fires small

We know that worrying about maintenance during the holiday season is a drag but the stakes are high if you don’t take preventative measures. Whether you decide to DIY or call a professional, these few tasks can save you major headaches and $.


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