Tips to Safeguard Your Home Through Winter


After a long, sunny summer, a few easy maintenance steps can safeguard against problems in the wet winter months.


By Brion Jeannette


Photo by Eric Figge.

We are fortunate to live in the temperate climate of Southern California and enjoy busy outdoor lives – with plenty of opportunity to be distracted from home maintenance.   One day we’re basking in the sun and warmth of Fall when suddenly we’re experiencing Winter and the rainy season is upon us.

While our long seasons of sun exposure accelerate the benefits of solar panels, the sun can also play havoc on exterior finishes.  Below are some important and simple maintenance steps that should be taken now to winterize your home and help safeguard against maintenance problems later.

1. Check your rain gutters, deck and roof drains for blockage and possible drain spout problems.  Make sure the water flowing out of your gutter flows easily and doesn’t show signs of deteriorating material.   Check planter and garden drains to be sure they are cleared of leaves and soil allowing water to properly drain.

2. Irrigation systems (sprinklers, bubblers, etc) should be inspected routinely.  Make certain water is not hitting or settling against the building.  Improper adjustments can cause water damage including dry rot, fungus and mold which can affect the structural foundations and framing.  Irrigation systems should be re-evaluated for the seasons.

3. Check all water features to make sure they are functioning properly and not leaking.

4. Check outlet drain lines that terminate in landscape areas – overgrowth can block them and back-up the rain water drainage system.

5. Stained woods or metal finishes may need another protection coat at this time to help retain color and depth.  These should typically be applied every three to five years.

6. Outside decks and pavers may need another protection coat of weather sealer.

7. Aluminum clad windows and door frames (especially in coastal locations) should be washed with deionized water every three months to maintain the integrity of the aluminum cladding.

8. Windows and sliders with greatest exposure to the elements should be tested for leaks.

It’s also a great time to check other systems and perform routine maintenance:

9. Clean and check the filters on your reverse osmosis water filtering system.  (Should be done every six months.)  Your R/O service technician can check these for you.

10. Check your water softeners PH Factor and back-wash timing.

11. Heating and air conditioning filters should be checked and changed.

12. Clean the canister in your “In Wall Vacuum System.”  (Should be done at least every six months.)

13. Check the light bulbs in your step lights and garden lighting.

14. Run a security system check with your monitoring company.

Today’s homes operate so effortlessly we often forget to check those systems that we come to take for granted – and depend upon so much.

Architect Brion Jeannette can be reached at 949-645-5854 or through