Is your home ready for winter? It’s important for homeowners to be aware of the potential damage that can be caused to a home by winter weather. Here is a list of some important steps you can take to winterize and prepare your home for the winter:
1. Maintain a warm temperature in your home.
Keep your thermostat at a temperature that’s at least 65 degrees. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing when it gets extremely cold at night.
2. Trim your trees.
Branches and tree limbs that collect snow and ice get weighed down and can easily break. Make sure you trim limbs and tree branches that hang over your house and/or power lines to prevent potential home damage.
3. Disconnect your hoses and winterize your sprinkler systems.
Leaving your garden hoses connected to the faucet during the winter months can result in severe damages to your pipes if the water freezes. Make sure you unhook them before temperatures drop. If you have a sprinkler system, have your system winterized by a professional to keep lines from freezing and to ensure your spring startup goes smoothly.
4. Remove debris from gutters, install gutter guards.
While you’re raking leaves in the fall, take the time to clean out your gutters too. Removing excess leaves, sticks and debris helps melting ice and snow drain appropriately. Having cleaned out gutters also helps prevent ice from collecting, which can result in water seeping into your home’s walls and ceilings. Go ahead and install gutter guards so this task is easier next year!
5. Insulate, insulate, insulate!
We all know that heat rises, so when that heat escapes through the roof, it causes ice and snow to melt faster. When the moisture melts and refreezes, it can accumulates and the heavy ice can cause a roof to collapse. The solution? Add extra sheets of insulation to attics, crawl spaces, and basements.
6. Call the professionals.
The heating system should be cleaned and serviced every year by an HVAC professional. Be sure to change the furnace filter. Consider adding a programmable thermostat to improve energy efficiency. Also be sure to test and turn on your humidifier, make sure the filter is clean.
7. Seal cracks, holes and drafty areas.
Nothing’s worse than feeling a cold breeze coming in your house from under the front door. Install draft guards or weatherstripping for these drafty areas under doors, especially from the garage to the inside of your home. Do a full perimeter check and closely look at your siding, trim, skylights, doors, and windows – caulk all cracks and holes to make sure wind and melted snow don’t get into your home.
8. Secure steps and handrails.
As if slippery and icy sidewalks weren’t bad enough on their own, an unsecured handrail can make a potential injury even worse. Make sure your banisters and handrails are secure and safe enough to help catch a fall if someone starts to slip on ice. Also, add salt to driveways and icy sidewalks to help prevent injuries.
9. Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Be sure to put this important task on your calendar each year so you don’t get reminded at 2am by the chirping smoke detector!
10. Store summer necessities.
Winterize and store lawn mower, clean and store patio furniture.
11. Prepare for the snow.
Make sure your snowblower is easily accessible and ready for action. Also have the snow shovels and icemelt handy.
If you need a referral for an HVAC person or handyman, check out the Resources page!