As the Director of Maintenance at The Philadelphia Protestant Home, it is my responsibility to prepare our beautiful, 12.5 acre campus and its 8 buildings for the winter season.  All of us in operations commit a lot of time and energy in to getting everything ready for a Philadelphia winter and the process is quite extensive.  While the average home owner will not have to worry too much about getting everything ready, there are a few things everyone should pay attention to with the first day of winter fast approaching.  The following are a few home winterization tips that I have put together for those in the Delaware valley.


Windows & Doors: Close all storm windows tightly and confirm locks have activated. Check for air leaks or drafts around all windows, and if necessary, caulk or install weather stripping or a window insulation kit. On screen doors, remove door screen and install storm windows. Close the main entry door and check for air leaks or drafts. If there are drafts, install weather striping around the main entry door. If a draft is coming through the bottom of the door, replace the threshold or rubber sweep at the base of the door.

Outdoor spigots & Garden hoses: For outdoor spigots, turn off the isolation valve to the spigot inside the house (normally located in the basement). After isolating, proceed outside to the spigot you have just isolated. Remove the garden hose (if applicable) and open the exterior spigot. There should be no water flow. If there is no water flow, proceed to the isolation valve inside the house and open the bleeder cap if applicable. This will drain all the water from the outdoor faucet to the interior isolation valve eliminating the section of pipe from freezing. Remember to drain you garden hose and store it inside for the winter!

Rain barrels: Disconnect the feed hose from the rain downspout to the barrel. Install the cap to cover the opening in the downspout. Open the drain valve at the bottom of the rain barrel and drain completely. Confirm fill plugs (there are normally 2) at top of barrel are snugly closed to prevent water from entering barrel. Leave drain valve open on barrel until you start using it again in the spring.

Outdoor drains: After all the leaves have fallen from the trees around your house, make sure any outdoor drains are clear of debris, as this will help prevent basement flooding. As the ice and snow melts you want it to go to your drain, not your basement!

Rain gutters/downspouts: Clean all debris from gutters and shake out debris from all downspouts. This will help prevent water from ice and snow melt backing up onto your roof. This will help prevent roof damage by water freezing and melting numerous times during the winter. Sitting water always finds a way in!

Article courtesy of:
Gregory Petrucci
Director of Maintenance
The Philadelphia Protestant Home