If you live in a climate where the temperatures drop in the winter months, there are certain things that you will want to do inside and outside of your home to prepare. The subfreezing temperatures and heavy rains or snow can put you or your home at risk. Here is a list of some easy things you can do to make sure you and your home are prepared for winter.
#1 Clean Out Your Gutters
When we say gutters, we are talking about the rain gutters on your house. In many areas, the autumn brings cooler temperatures which cause leaves to fall off of trees which then accumulate in your rain gutters. This causes the rain spouts to clog which makes the gutters unable to drain the water that runs down your roof from rain or snowmelt. This makes the gutters overflow and spill over the edge. If there is too much water that spills over you could have a problem with flooding into your basement or have ice buildup on your front walk or driveway.
For this job, you’ll need a ladder that’s tall enough to get onto your roof and a bucket or garbage bag for the leaves. You can also buy a leaf scooper tool from a home supply store which will help keep your hands clean. You can also buy gutter guards to cover your gutters and prevent leaves from accumulating in the future.
#2 Check Your Furnace and Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detectors
This is an extremely important step to take before winter because it can keep you and your loved ones safe from dangerous gases in your home. When furnaces are working inproperly, they can emit carbon monoxide which is an undetectable gas that can cause death if inhaled in large quantities. You should have your furnace inspected and make sure that your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries. This may seem like an unimportant task but it can save lives and shouldn’t be overlooked.
#3 Drain Water From Outdoor Faucets and Sprinkler Systems
If water remains in sprinkler pipes and outdoor faucets, it can burst the pipes when it freezes in the winter. Before winter it is a good idea to clear your water lines so this doesn’t happen. There are multiple methods depending on the system. You can shut off the water valve and open the manual drain, or you can use pressurized air to clear the lines. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, it’s probably a good idea to call a professional.
#4 Check Your Roof
If you have a roof that is older than 20 years than you will want to have regular inspections to make sure it is up to standard. You want to keep an eye out for splits in the shingles or membrane, loose or broken pipe flashings, missing shingles, or exposed wall flashings. You may want to call a roofer to give it a quick inspection.
If you have had problems with ice building up on your roof, then you may want to install heat cables to prevent ice from building up on your roof or in your gutters.
#5 Stock Up on Winter Items
If you get heavy snowfall, it’s a good idea to make sure that your snow blower is working properly, and that you have plenty of rock salt to de-ice your sidewalk and other walkways during the winter. Make sure you have a good snow shovel that will be strong enough to chip away ice and lift heavy loads of snow and slush.
The fall months are an important time to inspect your home and make small repairs before they become major problems. Unfortunately, you may find that your home requires a major home repair like a new roof, major exterior repairs, a new furnace, or any number of repairs. Combined with the fact that you probably spend a lot of money during the holidays, it’s likely that you won’t have the funds to do those major home repairs. If this is the case you don’t have to worry since many contractors provide financing for those types of large repairs so you can take care of essential projects.
By doing these and other home projects before the winter, you will maintain the value of your home and prevent damage before it occurs.