Winter has started on the high desert of Central Oregon. While the winter in Bend can be mild, it's still important to get your home ready for the colder nights and days. Water damage is probably the biggest concern over the winter months. Below are some tips to get your Bend home ready for the cold season.
Be sure to blow out your sprinkler system. Most sprinkler piping is only about 6 inches under ground, and therefore will freeze. Hire a contractor to come blow air through your sprinkler system to ensure that all the water is out of your lines.
Inspect and clean your gutters. Ice can damage gutters. Be sure to clean your gutters before the snow and ice hit and inspect them for any damage.
Close up your foundation vent covers. If your foundation vents have covers attached, simply close them. If they don't, go to a hardware store and buy the foam vent covers and put them on. Most plumbing systems are run underneath the home and it's important to keep the foundation closed off during the winter months.
Have your furnace and/or other heating system serviced. If you have a furnace, it's recommended that you have it serviced every year. Also make sure to change the filters. Gas and Pellet stoves are also recommended to be serviced every year. If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, have the chimney swept and inspected.
Clean up the exterior. Pick up and put away any debris, lawn/patio furniture, or other items that will not fair well in the snow and/or freezing temperatures.
Insulate your plumbing pipes. Inspect your plumbing system and make sure that all pipes are insulated in the crawlspace.
Check all doors and windows for air gaps. Inspect all of your exterior doors and windows for gaps where cold air can be let into your home. For doors, properly install weather stripping around the door frame to seal the door. For windows, make sure that the exterior windows are properly caulked.
Inspect your roof. Inspect your roof for any damage where moisture can possibly penetrate the roof. You may also want to peek in your attic and look for signs of water damage.
Have an efficiency audit performed on your home. Many power and gas companies offer energy/efficiency audits to determine if anything can be done to help improve your overall home's efficiency. This includes looking at insulation levels, cold air penetration, and other items.
Check the exterior for proper drainage. Inspect your property for proper drainage. Around the edge of your home's foundation, the ground should not slope into the foundation. Also check that your foundation vents are all above grade. Improper drainage can cause standing water and/or water to penetrate your foundation and get into your crawl space.
Stay warm and enjoy the winter in Bend. Get out and do some skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, site seeing, or one of the many other winter activities Bend offers.