Tips for ensuring a safe, snug winter

What a beautiful week we’ve had — and a particularly lovely fall, aside from a couple wild storms.

This great weather gives us all an opportunity to tackle key outside and inside jobs to help ensure that your home is snug and secure this winter.

A few weeks ago we talked about cleaning off your roof, checking your chimney, etc. So, if you haven’t taken a look at your leaky doors and windows, dirty chimneys and clogged gutters, now’s the time to do it. And don’t forget to take a good look at your roof for missing shingles, bad roof penetration flashings and flashings in general.

Remember that it’s critical for your home to avoid trapped moisture. With more moisture in the air and coming in on raincoats, boots, dogs and kids, do what you can to keep the inside of your home dry and ventilated. Turning on fans when bathing or cooking and leaving them on for 20 minutes afterward really helps. Also, is your dryer vent working?

Today we’ve have just a few more ideas for chores to get yourself ready for winter. There’s nothing like a “to do” list to help get a person organized, so here’s ours:


Pick another one of our nice days to catch up on your home maintenance. Here are some other outside chores in preparation for the coming wind, rain and cold.

• Move lumber and woodpiles away from your house — 25 feet, if possible — to help prevent moisture and bugs from migrating into your home.

• Clean leaf screens and water test your gutters and downspouts.

• Place splash blocks or pipe extensions at each downspout. They help point the rainwater away from your house.

• Clean out any driveway drain boxes and make sure they drain properly.

• Change the self-closer on your screen door to the winter setting. This will close the door more quickly and help prevent a wind-damaged door.

• Lubricate your door hinges and locks with silicone spray.

• Protect under-house or exposed water pipes with pipe sleeves or insulation.

• Now is the time to put powdered Moss-Off on your roof to kill and prevent future growth.

• Check the dryer’s flapper vent and screen for lint build-up. Does the flapper door work right? This can be a secret passage for critters.

• Change the oil and fuel in your generator and test it. Get fresh fuel and fuel saver.

• Fill your propane bottles for emergency cooking on the BBQ.

• Check all your outside lights.

• Put away all the yard furniture, ladders and anything that can blow away or be ruined by wind and rain.

• Save cleaning out garages and tool sheds and winterizing lawnmowers and yard tools for those days when the rain really flies.

• Keep your blower and rake handy for the falling leaves that will continue to plug the street drain in front of your house. Keeping the street gutter and drains clear are a top priority until the leaves are done falling will stop any water from backing up in front of your house.


Get organized. Take advantage of any remaining nice days to get these annual chores done so you’ll have plenty of time, in the rain, to go fishing and hunting or enjoy watching a great football game.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County.

Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St