Winterization Tips

As the weather turns colder, we alter our lives to adjust for the coming winter. Homes and boats are often property we need to protect from the insetting cold. Here are a few tips to help keep your property safe.

Homes

  • Hire a contractor to ensure your heating system is working properly.
  • If using a fuel storage tank, confirm it is full (or has enough fuel to get you through the winter).
  • A chimney service should inspect and clean any chimneys to ensure they are free from obstructions.
  • Inspect water heater for leaks.
  • Inspect all weather stripping, insulation, and exterior doors and windows to ensure they are in good condition.
  • Inspect the roof for evidence of damage, leaks, and missing/worn shingles, replacing or repairing them as needed. A quick look into the attic for water damage or mold is good practice.
  • Check and clean gutters and downspouts, making sure water is diverted away from the house and does not puddle next to the foundation.
  • Remove dead trees or large overhanging limbs.
  • Install at least one wireless smoke detector, in case the power goes down.

Vacant Homes (Additional Considerations)

  • If the home is to be heated, check it regularly to ensure the heating system is working properly. Do not forget to make sure the electrical service remains active and in good working condition.
  • If the home is not to be heated, turn off the fuel at the main shut-off valve. If the electrical is to be shut-off as well, it should be turned off at the main circuit breaker and the breaker locked open.
  • Drain the plumbing system to prevent damage from freezing. Or, install a water flow sensor and low-temperature sensor and connect it to a central monitoring system.
  • Shut-off the dishwasher and washing machine hoses and insulate all pipes that run along an exterior wall. Drain and shut-off outdoor water faucets.

Boats

Out-of-Water Storage:

  • Disconnect the battery and store it in a battery charger or other safe place.
  • Clean and remove barnacles from the hull, props, rudders, struts and trim tabs.
  • Open the seacocks and check the hull for blisters that need to be drained.

In-Water Storage:

  • Make sure the battery is fully charged and connected.
  • Rudder shafts and stuffing boxes need to be checked for leaks and tightened (or repacked) as needed.
  • Close all seacocks. Make sure the bilge pumps and float switches are working properly.
  • If you cannot physically monitor the boat during the winter, have the marina check it periodically and send you reports.
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