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  • Writer's picturejtpaul9

Being Winter Ready

Next week starts the official first days of winter. I have below a new little home maintenance checklist that you can use to create some routines for taking care of your home. Some steps relate specifically to winter time and colder weather. Some steps seem to be centered around protecting your family as you are spending more time in the home.

I'm not going to touch on the reasoning for each of these, but I did want to quickly discuss a couple of these. I think I mentioned a week or two ago about some holiday lighting and a couple weeks before that about door and window insulating and weather-stripping. Those are both important too but not what I want to talk about in the short time you are here.

Tip one is to familiarize yourself and your family with shut-off locations for water and gas. This knowledge will be invaluable if a leak is found in either either the plumbing or the gas lines and it needs to be shut down quickly. We made this mistake before to not all be familiar. Some years ago we had a water pipe in our crawlspace break. I was out driving when it happened and my wife called and told me it happened. I had to turn around and get back quickly so I could turn off the water before too much damage was done. Luckily I was pretty close to home and the leak wasn't too significant and my delay in shutting it off wasn't too bad. But, it could have been. It would have been much better if I had just shown my wife prior to that where that shut-off was and how to do it. It's simple, but we didn't take that step to be prepared.

The second tip is talking about caulking around bathroom fixtures. I would suggest that that means caulking gaps around the tub and the wall, the tub and the floor, and the toilet and the floor. The chart mentions it is to protect the subfloor and that is completely accurate. I was in the crawlspace of a home last week of a home that is about 15 years old. I had noticed when I was upstairs that the caulking around the toilet was cracking and was missing in some places. When I was in the crawlspace, I noticed that the subfloor under the bathroom had a large section of wetness with nastiness growing under the toilet. It could have been a leaky toilet but I don't think it was. There was also some rust and water signs on the heater vent which means water running down that too. It could be from the tub having kids splashing around or a toilet that overflowed at some point but it was enough that the floor was still wet even though it looked ok from the bathroom upstairs. You don't want that grossness growing under your bathroom. Bonus tip, when you are caulking around the toilet, leave it open in the back for a couple of inches. That way if the toilet wax seal does leak/fail, moisture will come out the back and you can see that and give it attention. If not, it will just stay under the toilet and do damage and you never know.

If you need help with any of these things or if you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me, your friendly neighborhood home inspector.

-Tyler Paul

Sure Foundation Home Inspections

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