Cristal's Blog


October 23, 2023

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Winter is a magical time in Santa Barbara, with the sun-kissed coastal city taking on an inviting aura. While Santa Barbara is renowned for its year-round pleasant weather, winter still makes its presence felt here. As the seasons shift and the possibility of colder, rainier days looms, homeowners in this beautiful part of the world need to get their residences ready. Winterizing your home might not involve snow shovels or salt on driveways and sidewalks, but it's essential to ensure it remains comfortable and efficient during the colder months.

A brilliant orange Santa Barbara winter sunset.
Image by Doc Searls, CC BY 2.0 DEED

Your 14 Step Checklist for Winterizing Your Home

Here's a handy checklist to go over with your home maintenance team to make sure your Santa Barbara property is well-prepared for the winter season. By addressing these key tasks now, you'll ensure that your home remains cozy, energy-efficient, and ready to embrace the unique charm of a Santa Barbara winter.

1. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Even in Santa Barbara, leaves and debris can accumulate in your gutters. Have your cleaning crew clear them out before winter sets in, as the autumn foliage and other impediments may clog your gutters, preventing water from flowing freely.

A sparkling blue pool surrounded by the windows of a Midcentury architectural masterpiece.

2. Weatherproof Doors and Windows
Examine doors and windows for gaps and drafts. Windows are a significant source of heat loss and cold air infiltration. Weatherproof them with caulk, weather-stripping, or consider replacing them altogether with energy-efficient double-paned windows to enhance your home's energy efficiency and decrease your environmental footprint.

3. Inspect Heating Components
Winterizing your home means ensuring all heating system components are in good working order. Look for any issues with ignitors, electrical components, orifices, and clean any dirt or debris that might pose a fire hazard. Don't forget to change your furnace filter, and if you're unsure about its efficiency, consult a heating/cooling expert. Most filters need monthly replacement, but you can consider switching to a permanent filter, reducing waste and maintenance while potentially improving your indoor air quality.

Birds eye view of a magnificent ocean view Montecito home on two parcels.

4. Roof Maintenance
Have a professional inspect your roof for damaged shingles and loose gutters. Addressing these issues prevents water damage, protecting your home's interior.

5. Close Vents
During the summer, vents may have been left open to allow outside air circulation. In winter, when the air is drier, it's advisable to close these vents to prevent moisture buildup that can lead to mildew and rot.

6. Disconnect Hoses and Turn Off Water
Extreme cold is a rarity in this area, but when it does occur, it has the potential to harm your plumbing. To safeguard your pipes, in the rare times freezing temperatures are forecast, be sure to unhook your garden hoses and allow outdoor faucets to drip slightly so water in the pipes doesn’t freeze.

A luxury living room with lit fireplace, plush furniture and a baby grande piano

7. Chimney and Fireplace Care
Before lighting your fireplace, ensure your chimney is cleaned and free of debris. Test the flue to ensure a tight seal when closed. Inspect the mortar between bricks and firebricks to ensure your fireplace is ready for the season.

8. Check Insulation
Inspect your home's insulation, paying attention to walls, doors, inlets, fans, and ceilings. Seal any gaps to keep your home draft-free and cozy during the winter.

9. Adjust Water Heater Temperature
Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F or lower, as many heaters come preset to 140°F. Flushing your water heater through the drain valve can clear out sediment and particles, helping it run more efficiently. Don't forget to insulate your water heater for energy savings.

10. Monitor Sensors and Controls
When winterizing your home, keep a four-degree difference between your heating and cooling set points to avoid simultaneous heating and cooling. This helps maintain a comfortable indoor environment while reducing energy consumption.

11. Prepare for Emergencies
While Santa Barbara typically enjoys a mild winter, it's wise to be prepared for unexpected events. Keep extra water, canned food, and a disaster preparedness kit on hand to weather any emergencies.

A beautiful deck in Montecito with an ocean view

12. Seal Your Deck
Protect your deck from winter's harsh elements by giving it a fresh coat of sealer. This prevents fibers from becoming brittle and water from seeping inside and causing damage.

13. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
You may have learned in science class that hot air rises. You can take advantage of this fact during wintertime by reversing your ceiling fans, if you have them, so that they spin in the opposite direction. This will push the warm air close to your ceiling down, where you can feel and enjoy it, instead of keeping it trapped against the ceiling. This is a simple way to make your winterized home more comfortable.

14. Maintain a Consistent Thermostat Setting
It's a good idea to maintain a relatively stable indoor temperature throughout the winter. Drastic fluctuations can lead to issues for your home and your personal health, so set your thermostat at a reasonable level and strive to keep it there. This ensures your home remains cozy and energy-efficient.

In Santa Barbara, where mild weather is the norm, a few essential winterizing steps can go a long way in maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home. So, whether you're a longtime Santa Barbara resident or live here part time, don't skip these crucial preparations for winterizing your home. You'll be ready to embrace the charm of this wonderful Santa Barbara season.

If you want to start winterizing your home in a new space in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Let’s do what we need to do now so we can enjoy our coastal enclave in the coming months.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch