Winter Home Checklist
Sat, Dec 21, 2019 – Thu, Mar 19, 2020
December January February
Landscape: Let’s start outside and work our way into the home. The first thing to look at is your yard and landscaping. Inspect your driveway and walkways to make sure they are intact with no holes or dirt loss on the perimeter. Look for any developing cracks to keep an eye on. Walk the perimeter of your yard. Since all the leaves have fallen you can better inspect the property line. Walk to each corner of the yard checking and inspecting your trees. If you have a fence check for any loose boards and rot damage. If you do have a fence and the weather is nice this would be a great time to pressure wash and stain your fence. If the wood is pressure treated it is not necessary to stain with that being said, staining offers a layer of protection in addition to improving the appearance of your backyard. It is worth a look if you are going to live in your home for 5+ years.
Fall is going to be the best time of year to aerate your yard in addition to adding seed and fertilizer. That will be covered in the Fall checklist for 2020. If you have not aerated your yard and added fertilizer, no worries, you can start your schedule in the spring. Now is a great time to get prepared.
Preparing your yard for the Spring and Summer: Late Winter and early Spring you will want to rake your yard to lightly churn the dirt. This will help get air, nutrients, and additional water to the yard. After the last cold snap but before any major heat wave you will want to plant seed if you are using seeding varieties of grass. If you have Bermuda or St. Augustine then you will want to fertilize. A few weeks later you can fertilize your yard for all varieties of grass. Fertilizing is recommended in the Early spring. Plan ahead so you are ready in March. (They make specific ratio mixes for different types of yards, check with your local nursery or outdoor retail location.
Trees and Vegetation: This is a great time to inspect the canopy of your yard. If you have large trees you want to make sure that the trees you want to keep have an adequate and even amount of access to sunlight. This helps the trees go straight and strong preventing them from dying, 5+ year homeowners should consider trimming up limbs on the trees to keep all the trees in healthy condition. If you are 1+ year homeowner, you should make sure that all the trees around and over your home have been trimmed back. You don’t want a large tree limb hanging over your home. You also do not want small trees and shrubs that are next to the home growing on or overhanging near the roof. This can cause damage to the singles and over time water can creep into the roof causing damage.
Leaves: If you live in a home in or around many trees then you will have to address leaves a few times a year. During the winter it is imperative that you have taken care of your leaves. Raking your entire yard of leaves especially around the perimeter of the home is important to prevent moisture and potential bug/animal damage. Make sure that your gutters are free and clear of any debris. You do not want any leaves or piles of leaves standing on the roof as they can hold moisture and damage your shingles and possibly create leaks. If you are a gardener or have a compost pile you can add the leaves to the pile. They can often take while to break down but are good in nutrients.
Lawn Equipment: Remember to run all the gas or gas mix out of your equipment if they have a carburetor or recommended by manufacturer. It is always recommended to run 100% unleaded gasoline. The blended gas can tear up a weed eater or mower quickly. They are also more prone to creating gunk and residue. You can buy gas stabilizers for the winter to help preserve gas.
Outdoor Furniture and Grills: Make sure you take the time to properly store your outdoor patio furniture. This can help preserve your furniture for years to come if taken care of. This is the same for Grills. Many of the new grills have thin metal and are more prone to rusting out. Covering them during the rainy season will help preserve life.
Outside of the home: You want to walk around your home and check for any openings that you may have into the basement or crawl space. They should be properly sealed to keep out pests. For all homes you need to check the exterior for any rot or damage. Check all locations where you may have an opening. Spigot, Dryer vents, etc. Make sure these are all sealed up properly. There are a few options that you can use. You want to make sure that you use and outdoor rated caulk and if you are planning to paint then make sure you purchase paintable caulk. Caulk is better than expansion foam for preventing critters. It also can give you a better visual look.
Water Spigots: Cover you water spigots with foam covers. Also check inside your crawl or basement space for a cut off valve to those spigots if you have access. They will typically be 2-3 ft inside of the home, closing these will help prevent freezing pipes that could potentially burst.
Inside your Home: Check all your windows and doors for air loss during the cold of the winter. Georgia power has two rebate programs that may be a good fit for you depending on the condition of your home. The best bang for your buck is the attic insulation. If you have a poorly insulated home you can actually rent a blower yourself for free from Home Depot when you purchase a minimum amount of blown insulation. Typically, these jobs done by you are a handyman are about $500 dollars for a 1,000 sq. ft. attic plus labor. The rebate is good for 50% of the cost up to $250 Dollars.
Furnace and Heat: It is important that you have an HVAC technician inspect your furnace and A/C unit once a year. This will ensure that you are running at optimum efficiency in the winter.
Chimney: Clean and check Your chimney. If you have not already done so it is important to check your chimney, you can hire a chimney sweep to ensure no wildlife has made your chimney their home. The sweep will also inspect the chimney and clean out any debris.
Carbon Monoxide and fire detection: Most fires happen in the winter. You are running your furnace and often natural gas depending on your fireplace and furnace setup. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector they can be purchased at a local hardware shop, or major retailer. They are easily installed and need to be present in bedrooms and living spaces.
Pest and Bugs: It is recommended to have a pest control company inspect and spray the property once a quarter. There are many great companies available in Atlanta. This small investment will prevent the potential stress of a roach or ant infestation.
Appliances: Have you checked your refrigerator water filter or any reservoirs it may have? This is also a great time to deep clean all your appliances.
That’s It! You are now the homeowner of the year.
Thank You for reading. If you have any questions about the information provided above please reach out. I have an amazing network of reliable trades and vendors for all your needs inside and outside of your home.