Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something Winterized This Way Comes

You're supposed to prepare a house for winter.  It's mostly about cold, moisture, and the relationship between the two.  It's pretty important in this part of Oregon.  We may not get terribly cold, but we get cold enough, and it rains 8 days a week much of the year.

1) Block the crawlspace vents.  This seemed weird to me, but the guy who gave me the advice had a confident look on his face at the time.  I've always associated airflow with drying, and poor ventilation with moisture buildup.  Stores sell Styrofoam blocks shaped for this, for about $2.50 each, which is 10X what it would cost to buy a large chunk of foam and cut your own.  I bought the pre-cut blocks, but at least I'm savvy enough to feel bad about it.

2) Unblock the attic vents.  My attic vents are partially blocked by insulation, and there's a small (probably not deadly) mold outbreak already, so I should have done this weeks ago.  Every weekend I climb my ladder, stick my head in the attic, and climb back down.  Last time I even had a headlamp.  The attic just seems like a really unpleasant place to be.  I need a taller ladder anyway. 

I'm still not sure why I want to block one set of vents and clear the other, but oh well.

3) Drain outside faucets.  I turned them off and covered them with foam insulation, but I can't figure out how to drain them.  There's supposed to be an interior valve.  Maybe it's under the house.  I pretend the under-the-house doesn't exist because I expect it to be worse than the attic.

4) Put up storm windows.  Until five minutes ago, I thought "storm windows" meant screens, which is the opposite of a true thing.  So this isn't done either.

5) Trim back plants.  I clipped a few bushes to keep moisture from being trapped against the siding, but the real danger is large tree branches.  My yard is dense with trees.  I really ought to have a professional check this out.

6) Inspect and clear gutters.  I can't figure out how to get access to the gutters' guts, because they have leaf guards.

I started this post to document how I winterized my house, something I was proud of.  Now I realize I'd better do it for real this weekend.

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