Winterization Tips Feature Image

Homeowner Winterization Tips

 

As a service to our buyers, we wish to remind you of some of the things you should do to prepare your house for winter. Please review the information provided below. If you have questions or need additional assistance, feel free to contact your warranty representative. 

Gutters

As a consequence of the arid climate and to avoid possible damage by snow and ice, gutters have been installed only minimally or not at all on your house. However, some rain runoff from the roof will occur. Before the first rain, check your yard and ensure that any roof runoff (either direct or through downspouts) will drain away from the foundation. If water stands near the foundation, it will percolate through the soil and possibly up into your crawl space.

Drainage

Check your drainage swales to ensure that they will allow water to drain off your property as originally designed and constructed. Have you built or placed any obstructions in these drainage paths? Has any silt or debris migrated to the swales? If the swales have been disturbed, creating “dams” or “ponds,” re-grade them to allow uniform water flow. This required maintenance should typically be performed every few weeks. Ensure that any of your runoff will not flow onto your neighbors’ yard.

Irrigation

If you have a landscape irrigation system, it must be shut down and the back-flow preventor (BFP) drained before the first freeze. 1. Click here to see a diagram depicting irrigation. 2. Be sure to set your irrigation time clock to the OFF position. 3. To put your system back in operation in the spring, reverse the above procedure.

Vents

The perimeter of your house at or above the foundation has been constructed with operable vents to allow adequate ventilation of the crawl space and minimize water vapor build-up in that area. These vents should be kept open most of the time. In the winter you may wish to close them to keep any pipes which are near the vents from freezing and to prevent drafts or cold air from entering your house through the floor. Sometimes they do not close very well. If this happens, you may need to go under the house and push them closed from the inside. An easier solution, and perhaps more of an airtight one, is to neatly tape clear visqueen over the opening. This can be easily removed in the spring when you wish to resume ventilation.

Concrete

We have used extra-high-strength concrete in your walks and driveways to minimize the affects of freezing and thawing on the concrete. However, your concrete will still be susceptible to that. Additionally any salts used for ice removal, whether directly applied or as “drip-off” from your automobile, will eat away your concrete surface. To minimize this, you may wish to apply a sealer such as Thompson’s Water Seal (less expensive) or Diamond Sealer (more expensive). Check your local hardware store for these products and follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

Windows and Sliding Glass Doors

Your sliding windows and sliding glass door slide in a track at the bottom. This track is designed to catch rainwater runoff from the window or door and drain it towards the outside through weep holes. Prior to the first seasonal rain, clean the track of these windows and doors and ensure that weep holes are open and not plugged.

French Doors

A French door may have been installed in your house in an area exposed to the weather. Most manufacturers of these doors do not guarantee them against leaking. This is particularly true of the eight-foot doors. They make your house dramatic but more difficult to seal. As your house settles and shifts, which is a natural occurrence, your door may come out of alignment and not seal properly. It is the homeowners’ responsibility to perform the necessary adjustments and maintenance on the door so that it remains weatherproof. As part of our valued customer service program, we will make one adjustment for you if you determine the door needs it during the one-year warranty period. You should check these doors prior to the rainy season. We cannot be responsible for damage to other components of the house, such as flooring, caused by leaks at these doors.

Weatherstripping

Like windshield wiper blades, weatherstripping should be checked annually. If weatherstripping appears to have lost its ability to perform (seal) on your doors and windows, it should be replaced.

Furnace

Clean or replace your furnace filters. Test your furnace before the start of cold weather. It is a good practice to have it serviced by a heating company about this time each year. If you have air conditioning, you will want to have that serviced annually in the spring.

Hoses

Disconnect and drain your garden hoses. Remove hose splitters and other attachments from your hose bibs. These devices may prohibit your hose bibs from draining as designed resulting in freezing damage.