It’s time to winterize your Cobb County home. Every few years, the winds shift and the waters in the Pacific Ocean gets warmer than usual and the resulting El Nino changes weather around the world but mostly effects the United States in winter. The predictions are a mild start for the winter of 2015-16 in the metro Atlanta area but toward February we will have above average precipitation and temperatures that will probably be below average overall.

Do you remember what happened in Cobb County the last couple of years? Snow and Ice! Not only were the roads and traffic affected, but lots of homes had broken pipes and fallen trees. It is best to plan ahead and have your home winterized long before the threat of ice, especially if you are planning to list your home for sale. Here are a few helpful suggestions on ways to winterize your home.

Furnace Inspection

Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
Change furnace filters monthly.
Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

Prevent Plumbing Freezes

Insulate all exposed plumbing pipes.
Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your air conditioner has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
If you go out of town, set your heat on 55 degrees.

Get the Fireplace Ready

Call a chimney sweep to clean your fireplace of soot and creosote.
Buy extra firewood and store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
Inspect the opening and closing of the fireplace damper.
Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep birds and rodents out.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.
Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.

Check Home Exterior, Doors and Windows

Inspect and seal any exterior crevice cracks and any exposed entry points around pipes.
Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. Install storm windows.
To prevent cold air from entering, use weather stripping around doors and caulk windows.
Replace any cracked glass in windows.
Cover basement window wells with plastic shields.

Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
Clean out the gutters and downspouts.
Add extra insulation in the attic to prevent warm air from causing ice dams on your roof.

Check Foundations

Secure crawlspace entrances.
Clear debris and vegetation from the foundation.
Seal entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
Inspect for foundation cracks and seal.
Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.

Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

Trim low hanging branches on trees that are close to the house or electrical wires.
Plant spring flower bulbs and remove bulbs that cannot survive if the ground freezes.
Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
Move potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

Service Landscaping Equipment

Drain gas from lawnmowers.
Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
Purchase bags of ice-melt or sand.
Drain all garden hoses.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage.
Make a list of phone numbers for your utility companies. Save them into your cell phone.
Purchase a battery back-up to protect computers and sensitive electronic equipment.
Store emergency non-perishable food, bottled water, blankets and a first-aid kit. Don’t forget pet food.
Prepare an emergency evacuation plan.

Despite the occasional ice and snow, Cobb County is a great place to live. You can check out some homes for sale in Acworth, Kennesaw, and Marietta.