How to Winterize (Yes even in the Bay Area!)

Real Estate

Living in the Bay Area, you may think a “winterizing” is not necessary! But even here, where we have THE MOST BESTEST PLEASANT WEATHER in the world, there is a handful of winterizing items that should be checked off when the rains start coming and the temperature dips!

All of these items are pretty simple things to do, and can curtail much larger maintenance issues or property damage down the road. Take a look at this list and create a calendar event  reminder in your phone or computer to do this every year! I have visited many homes where a simple detached gutter drain or overgrown tree has caused some major property damage!

 Check your drainage
Preventing water and moisture intrusion is the first step to winterize your home. Walk around the house when the weather is still nice and make sure that the soil is not in contact with the siding and is sloped away from the house. It is also important to make sure the downspout is directly tied into the storm drain system or point it several feet away from the house so the water will flow away from the house.

Clean gutters
Gutters should be clean and free of debris, so water can flow to the proper drainage. It is prudent to check or clean these after the first rain of the fall season (or in our case maybe January!). That way many of the leaves from surrounding trees have probably fallen or blown off during the storm. There are gutter maintenance companies that can come and do this for you, as well as checking your drainage connections. If you find you don’t have time; contact me and Ill send you some names and numbers of reputable companies!

Get your furnace tuned up!
The service should include checking fuel connections, burner combustion, and the heat exchanger. It is also important to change out your air filter on a regular basis. It is especially important if you have children or pets to keep the air clean inside the house. In fact, some home inspectors recommend the furnace filter be changed every 6 months! Most filters for furnaces can be found at Home Depot or online. Keep a couple on hand to simply change when needed.

Weatherstripping and chalk windows and doors
Walk around your house to make sure there are no visible gaps where the windows and doors meet the siding or stucco. If there are any, chalk them. Inspect all doors and check on the condition of the weatherstrip, if it is crumbling then replace it with the new one. This will ensure better insulation against the cold weather and help to save energy. Additionally, gaps in stucco over time will cause major damage to the wood framing underneath!  Another good reason to watch for these minor things becoming major things.

Take a peek at your crawl space in January
It is always a good idea to check on your crawl space at least once a year. Summer months tends to be dry so the moisture usually shows up a couple months into winter when the moisture starts to build up if there is leak. If you do find moisture, get in touch with a building inspector or general contractor who can help you pinpoint the source of the problem.

Prune Trees
Winter is a good time to do major trimming when the trees are dormant. Contact with the trees is bad for roofs and siding, it is important to trim them away from the house. You also want to make sure your leaning trees have proper structure to support it. Unsupported tree are likely to fall in the wet season when the ground soil tends to be saturated. In the hills, especially the last few years, there have been beetle issues. Beetles eat away at the trees support structure, and when the rain and wind hits, the trees are vulnerable to falling! Have a professional arborist come look at your trees especially if you are in the hills.


Last winterizing tip – curl up and enjoy your home! This is the time of year to nest, rest, read and relax. Enjoy your home and your labor of love!