We’ve had a little break from the rainstorms, and these sunny days are perfect for a quick look-around the house to see if there are any winterizing tasks you can accomplish before the next storms come:

1. Be prepared for power outages and emergencies:

-Clean & test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Change batteries if needed.

-Check your fire extinguisher. Make sure it is where it is supposed to be.

-Prepare for power outages by restocking your supply of flashlights with extra batteries. Make sure they are easily accessible and in working order.

-Have an emergency plan and be prepared for severe winter storms. Consider creating a Home Survival Kit:

2. Block Leaks

Most of the problems we experience with our homes during the cold, wet and windy months come from water infiltration, condensation and air leakage. To reduce or eliminate sources of infiltration and leakage:

-Close the spaces and gaps under your doors.

-Maintain and replace worn weather stripping around doors.

-Caulk gaps around window frames.

3. Clean the Gutters

-Remove leaves and dirt; clogged drains can form dams causing water to back up.

-When hosing out the gutters, look for leaks or misaligned pipes.

-Replace old and rusty gutters and/or repair any leaks or cracks.

-Water should be diverted at least 5 feet away from the house.

4. Insulate Yourself

-Insulate any accessible hot water pipes

-Check the insulation in your attic and crawlspace to be sure it has not been dislodged or has fallen down.

-If you can see the ceiling joists in the attic, you need insulation. It is an investment that pays for itself quickly.

-Insulation saves on your heating bills and makes your home far more comfortable.

5. Check your Ventilation

-Check around your house and re-screen all torn or broken ventilation openings. Rodents love any way to get into your home for the winter.

-Make sure any bath fans are functioning and are venting to the outside, not into the attic

-Make sure your dryer vent is vented to the outside and is not terminating under your house

6. Install a Vapor Barrier in your Crawl Space

-Prevent mold, moisture, rot, and humidity from damaging your home. Unwanted water and moisture under your home may create mold or mildew, structural damage and/or degraded air quality in your house.

-Make sure the ground is sloped away from your house so that water does not run or pool next to or under your home.

-If you have water collecting under your house, purchase a sump pump and give it a test run before winter sets in.

7. Check your Furnace

-Toss out the old filter. Replace with a new one.

-Have your furnace inspected. PG&E will inspect for free.

-Have your furnace cleaned and tuned.

-Turn on your furnace before you need it to make sure it’s working!

-Keep your heater set at 68 degrees to conserve your heating bill.

-Make sure your thermostat is programmed correctly.

8. Get your Ducts in a Row

-A home with central heating can lose up to 60% efficiency if the ductwork is not well connected and insulated.

-Have connections and insulation of your ducts checked.

9.Don’t Forget the Chimney!

-Make an appointment with a Chimney Sweep before winter sets in for a thorough inspection.

-Install a protective cap for your chimney with a screen if you don’t already have one. This protects your chimney from foreign objects and rain.

10. Take Care of Garden & Grounds

-Turn off sprinklers completely when the rain sets in.

-Cover your bulb beds with shredded hay to protect them from the harsh winter elements.

-Cover your tropical flowers and roses with a burlap sack when temperatures dip into freezing. This will keep them warm and protected.

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