When the chill of winter arrives in Bend, Oregon, it’s essential to ensure that your home is ready to withstand the harsh weather. Whether you own or rent your home, winterizing your property for the colder months not only protects your investment but also ensures your comfort and safety. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps and tips for winterizing your home in Bend, Oregon, so you can enjoy a worry-free winter season.

  1. Inspect and Clean Heating Systems: Begin with a thorough inspection of your heating system. This includes furnaces, boilers, and chimneys. Cleaning and servicing your heating system can enhance its efficiency and safety. Consider scheduling a professional service to ensure all components are in optimal condition.
  2. Seal Doors and Windows: Drafts can significantly increase your heating costs. Inspect all doors and windows for drafts and seal them using weather stripping, caulking, or draft guards. For windows, consider using insulating film to add an extra layer of protection against cold air.
  3. Insulate Your Home: Proper insulation is key to maintaining a comfortable temperature. Check the insulation in your attic, walls, and basement. Adding extra insulation where needed can prevent heat loss and reduce heating costs.
  4. Protect Pipes from Freezing: Frozen pipes can burst and cause significant damage. Insulate exposed pipes, especially those in unheated areas like garages and basements. During extremely cold weather, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  5. Clean Gutters and Downspouts: Blocked gutters can lead to ice dams, which can damage your roof and cause water leakage. Clean your gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage.
  6. Check Your Roof: Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. Repairing these before winter can prevent water damage and improve insulation.
  7. Reverse Ceiling Fans: If your ceiling fans have a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. This simple step pushes warm air down from the ceiling into the room.
  8. Install a Programmable Thermostat: A programmable thermostat can reduce heating costs by adjusting the temperature when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping.
  9. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: With increased use of heating systems in winter, the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning also increases. Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace batteries if necessary.
  10. Prepare for Emergencies: Have an emergency kit ready that includes items like flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, a portable charger, blankets, and non-perishable food. Also, ensure you have a good supply of essentials like prescription medications.
  11. Outdoor Preparations: Store outdoor furniture and gardening tools. Drain and store hoses and shut off outdoor water valves to prevent pipes from freezing. If you have a sprinkler system, consider having it professionally blown out to remove water.
  12. Service Snow Removal Equipment: If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, ensure your snow removal equipment like snow blowers or shovels are in good working condition.
  13. Inspect and Clean Fireplaces: If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  14. Stock Up on Winter Supplies: Make sure you have supplies like salt or ice melt, snow shovels, and ice scrapers for your car.
  15. Check Insulation of Electrical Outlets and Switches: Often overlooked, electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls can be sources of cold air drafts. Insulate these with foam sealing gaskets.
  16. Upgrade Windows and Doors: If your budget allows, consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows and doors. They can provide better insulation and save on heating costs in the long run.
  17. Tree Maintenance: Trim branches that could fall on your house or electrical wires during a storm.
  18. Smart Home Devices: Consider investing in smart home devices that can help monitor and control your home’s heating efficiency remotely.
  19. Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial, especially in homes that are tightly sealed against drafts. Ensure that air can circulate to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  20. Regular Maintenance: Finally, make sure to regularly check and maintain all aspects of your home throughout the winter. This proactive approach can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.

By following these tips, you can ensure your home is well-prepared for the winter, providing you with a warm, safe, and efficient living space during the colder months.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Can I Prevent Frozen Pipes?

Frozen pipes can be prevented by insulating them with pipe sleeves or heat tape. Additionally, remind your tenants to keep a slight trickle of water running on extremely cold nights to prevent freezing.

What Should I Do in Case of a Heating System Breakdown?

In case of a heating system breakdown, instruct your tenants to contact our emergency maintenance line immediately. We will prioritize their comfort and safety and dispatch a technician promptly.

Are Snow Removal Responsibilities Shared with Tenants?

Snow removal responsibilities should be outlined in the lease agreement. Typically, landlords are responsible for common areas, while tenants are responsible for walkways and driveways.

Can I Install a Wood-Burning Stove in the Rental Property?

The installation of a wood-burning stove should be discussed with your tenants and should comply with local regulations. It’s important to ensure safety and obtain any necessary permits.

Is There a Recommended Temperature Setting for Winter?

A recommended temperature setting for winter is around 68-70°F (20-21°C) during the day and slightly lower at night when occupants are sleeping. This balance helps maintain comfort and energy efficiency.