Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Unlike most parts of the country, we really don’t need to do a ton of prepping for Winter here in San Diego. Still, the temperature does drop significantly and most people start to turn on their heaters. Here are some tips for getting your San Diego home prepped for Winter and the Holidays.

1) Inspect your Holiday decorations: Putting up Christmas lights on your house is a fun way to get in the Holiday spirit, but it can turn into a nightmare if you don’t take a few simple safety precautions. Check your lights for any kind of wear-and-tear. Exposed or frayed wiring is a huge red flag. Also, make sure you keep your Christmas tree well-watered, as a dry tree is more likely to catch fire.

2) Keep the heat in: Make sure you inspect your HVAC filter before you kick-start it, and you’ll want to replace that filter every month if you’re running your heater on a daily basis. Also, check on your insulation. Anywhere where air can get in from the outside should be properly sealed. Check windows, doors and plumbing entering your home and make sure they’re all sealed up well.

3) Put together an emergency prep kit: You’re not going to ever have to worry about a snowstorm knocking out power in San Diego. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for other emergencies. Put together a kit full of bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets, batteries & back up power sources and a first aid kit. Remember to replace the bottled water every 6-12 months.

4) Inspect your fireplace and chimney: A thrifty alternative to running the heater is lighting a fire. Just make sure that you properly inspect your fireplace and chimney before using it for the first time in nearly a year. You can inspect the chimney yourself for creosote, which builds up in the chimney when a fire does not have enough oxygen. Shine a flashlight at the top of the firebox, in the smoke chamber and around the damper. Check the flue as well. You may also want to pay for a chimney sweep if you haven’t done so in years. Lastly, when you light a fire, make sure the dampers are open in the bottom of the firebox (if provided), otherwise consider opening the nearest window slightly. This will prevent the fire from drawing warm air out of the rest of the house and replacing it with cold air.

Unlike most areas of the country, Winter isn’t a bad time to remodel in San Diego. If you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen  bathroom, living room, or any area of your home, leave us a note here. You can also call Greyhound directly at 800-568-7108.

Fall & Winter Home Maintenance Tips

I recently posted an article about how to inspect your roof for the Fall. In that article I touched on a few tips to keep in mind when examining how your roof is holding up. In this article I’d like to bring up some basic tips Fall maintenance.

It’s probably too late for people on the East Coast and Mid West follow these tips and provide time for adequate repairs, because many have seen snow already and temperatures are likely to fall about 30 degrees in the next month. For those of you in San Diego, there’s no need to panic! While Winter is cooler, it is fairly mind, and late October is a perfect time to examine your house.

1) Examine your roof/ gutters/ downspouts for debris: It’s very important to keep your gutters and downspout clear of all debris, including pine needles, leaves and dirt. Pay close attention if you have trees surrounding your house. Also check the flashing around your chimney, as well as skylights, to make sure there are no leaves built up and no leaks.

2) Change your filters: If you have central AC, remember to change the filter regularly. Check your stove vents and clothes dryer vents as well. Cleaning your vents will help keep your family healthier in the Fall and Winter, when people are more likely to get sick.

3) Prepare your fireplace: Remember to always discard old ashes and make sure the damper is open when using the chimney, so that air can move freely through the chimney. Make sure the damper is working properly by checking the handle and springs to see if it opens and closes properly. When not in use, close the damper to keep cold air out. Also, consider a chimney cleaning every few years, if not more frequently based on your use.

4) Examine your hot water heater: If the area you live has hard water then it’s likely that there’s sediment building up in your hot water tank. Consider draining your hot water tank and making sure that there is no rust build up. If there is rust, consider buying a new hot water heater that is more cost effective and energy efficient.

5) Check windows & doors for drafts: Start by investigating around all windows to make sure that the seal and caulking around the window frames are in good condition. Check the front, back and side doors to see if air is getting in underneath. There are cheap, temporary fixes such as rubber draft stoppers and even bean bag blockers that can easily be pushed away when you need to leave the house. Another temporary fix is to add heavy drapery around a particularly drafty window.

6) Store seasonal outdoor furniture: In San Diego, you’re in a different boat than the rest of the country with this tip. That being said, outdoor furniture can still deteriorate even in the mild Winters. Rain can do a lot of damage to furniture, so consider either investing in a cover for your furniture or finding a cool, dry place to store it when the rain picks up.

I left off several other tips, but they’re aimed at folks who own homes where it snows. Make sure to always inspect you home in the late Summer or Fall, regardless of the temperature. Making it a habit will help you spot issues early on, and give you time to fix any potential problems.

If you have any questions about home maintenance tips, or you’d like to learn more about San Diego home remodeling, then contact Greyhound General at 800-568-7108.