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Winterizing Your Home: Even Santa Barbara Homes Need to be Winter Ready

October 26, 2018

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A dramatic sunset after a winter storm in Santa Barbara, California to show how winterizing your home is important
Now is the time to prepare for the cold and rain

Fall is the best time to begin winterizing your home, even for those of us who live in sunny Santa Barbara. Although U.S. News & World Report lists Santa Barbara as the best place in the U.S. to live for our good weather, there is still a lot of homeowners should do to prepare for the winter. As the cold, rainy season approaches, it is important to take a few preventative measures and protect your investment.

Winterizing will make a big difference in how comfortable your home is this winter and could end up saving you money on energy bills, too because some of the work you do can actually mean tax credits.

The experts at EnergyStar, the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, explain, “Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which was signed in February 2018, a number of tax credits for residential energy efficiency that had expired at the end of 2016 were renewed.”

To see what tax credits California residents might be eligible for, check Dsire, the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency in the United States. For instance, did you know that there are insulation programs that reimburse you for 100% of the cost, up to $1000 should you use highly efficient and/or updated insulation? That’s just one example.

To get you started on winterizing your Santa Barbara home, I’d like to share important info I found on the topic. Some of the intel is from Allen Roth HQ, a blog about home improvement indoor and outdoor. 

Prepare for winter message, Some snow and an alarm clock on weathered wood with text Winterize your home checklist

14 Home Weatherproofing Projects to Tackle Now

  • Clean gutters and downspouts in mid-fall and double-check them before winter. Gutters get clogged, even if you don't live on a wooded lot and don't have many leaves. The reason it is a good time to clean gutters now before winter arrives is that autumn leaves have collected and dam the water into place, so they need to be removed to allow for the water to cleanly flow through them.
  • Replace the filter in your furnace and have a heating/cooling expert look at it if you’re unsure of its efficiency. Usually, these filters should be changed once a month. Unless you consider reducing waste and hassle by switching to a permanent filter. By making that change, you’ll only need to clean it once in a while. Experts say these permanent filters may make the air in your house cleaner. 
  • Close any vents in your home that may have been opened for the warm weather. Vents allow outside air to circulate in the summer months to prevent any moisture from building up that may bring mildew and rot. In winter, the air is drier, so close all your vents.
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and turn off the water. During the colder temperatures, water from your hose can freeze (occasionally even in Santa Barbara), which can result in cracked pipes. By removing your hoses, water won’t be able to get anywhere near your pipes. It is always a good idea to turn off the shut-off valve inside your home (if you have one) during the winter
  • Check your insulation along the walls, along doors, inlets, fans, in the ceiling. See any holes? Fill them up. House tightness is key to preventing cold air drafts during the winter months.
  • Turn down your water heater to 120F (or lower). Many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by manufacturers and installers. However, most households don't need that high temperature. You also need to flush your water heater through the drain valve to clear out particles and sediment that may have collected. And make sure to insulate your water heater to save money and the environment.
  • Are your ignitors and electrical components in good working order? Are the orifices clean and sized properly? Are the tubes free of cracks, dust, dirt, debris, and anything that could present a fire hazard? Winter is the time to find out the answers to those questions and fix any problem.
  • Check sensors and controls and make sure all are working properly. Experts suggest homeowners keep a four-degree difference between heating and cooling setpoints so that you don’t end up simultaneously trying to heat and cool the house.
  • Keep extra water, canned food, and a disaster preparedness kit on hand. We don’t need a repeat of last year’s rain and mudslides but it’s better to be prepared just in case.
  • Give your deck a fresh coat of sealer to protect it from the winter elements. Fibers can become brittle over the summer, causing premature breakage. When these fibers expand, water can seep inside and freeze, causing even more unnecessary damage. 
  • Look around doors and windows for gaps and potential places where warm air can escape. If you find any, fix them! Caulk or apply weather-stripping around problem draft areas.
  • Have a contractor look for damaged roof shingles and loose gutters. Water damage can impact not only your roof but your home’s interior as well. It can be easily prevented by this important step.
  • Have chimneys and woodstoves cleaned early in the season and make sure to test the flue in every fireplace, ensuring a tight seal when closed. You also need to inspect the mortar between bricks, tuckpoints, and firebricks. Whether you plan to use them or not, you need to make sure every fireplace is prepared for the season. And by all means, before you light your fireplace, have your chimney cleaned. Here’s a list of the best chimney sweeps in Santa Barbara.
  • Weatherproof your windows. Of the many places in the home where heat can escape, and cold air can enter, windows are one of the biggest culprits. In older homes, especially, having weatherproof windows can make a marked difference in your energy costs and how comfortable your living areas feel. In some instances, you might only need s bit of caulk or weather-stripping to weatherproof windows, but if your windows are well past their prime, consider replacing them with energy-efficient double paned windows to create a more efficient space.

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 I’m available to help home hunters find their dream home any time of the year.


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“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.”

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“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