8 Ways to Prep Your Home for Winter

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With the winter months approaching it’s becoming more important to prepare yourself and your home for the elements. Snow, rain, sleet, ice, and high winds will soon be coming, having your home ready before the first big storm is crucial to your winter success. With these eight ways to prep for winter you can be ready to take on the elements and protect your home.

Insulate Pipes

Exposed pipes are a disaster waiting to happen. With temperatures consistently at or below freezing temperature during the winter months, an exposed pipe can lead to a major headache. An exposed pipe that travels along an unheated area such as an outer wall, attic, or basement, is at most risk for being a hazard. The water inside these pipes can potentially freeze and cause the pipe to burst when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. Some ways to avoid your pipes freezing is to wrap them with foam insulation, heat tape, or a temperature-controlled heat cable. These methods will help slow the process of pipes freezing, absorbing heat from your home, and fighting the cold with the materials they are made from. By insulating your pipes, you can avoid water damage and potentially high repair bills.

Seal Windows and Doors 

With the harsh elements that winter brings, sealing off any wind or water is one of the best ways to keep warm and maintain your home. All windows, doors, and wood trim on the exterior of your home should be protected. Maintaining is the best, and cheapest, option when it comes to protecting your home. A great way to accomplish this is to keep your windows, doors and wood trim painted and caulked. By painting and caulking these areas it will seal out the elements while keeping in the heat. It will help reduce the air draft into your home, and according to the U.S. Energy Department it can lower your home’s energy costs by up to 20% a year.

Turn Off Outdoor Faucets 

With outdoor faucets, spigots, and sprinklers its best to drain them before the first fall freeze. You should start by disconnecting all hoses and draining the remaining water. You can do this by simply shutting off the water valve to your outside spigot, then going outside and draining the rest of the water. If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, it’s smart to remove any residual water before the first freeze so it doesn’t expand and crack any pipes. To make sure this is done correctly and safely it may be best to hire a contractor to blow out the remaining water using compressed air. If you tend to be more hands on the process, it involves shutting off the water source, opening the drain valves, then allowing the water to drain.

Check Surrounding Trees

When prepping for winter, it’s important to look around your home for potential hazardous trees. If you do have any unhealthy or suspicious trees that are in reaching distance of your home having them trimmed or even cut down completely may be a good idea. The most important places to look for hazardous trees are over your house, garage, driveway, or power lines. Due to the aggressive winter elements trees could fall in these specific areas and cause major damage at any time. Looking for signs like hanging limbs, dead leaves, trees with missing bark, and spots with mushroom growth, are signs of a dead tree that should be removed.

Get Ready for Snow Removal 

No matter if it is shoveling, snow blowing or plowing it is time to start preparing. When it comes to winter you don’t want to wait until after the first snowstorm to be ready, having your necessary tools accessible is a good place to start. Buying crucial snow products, such as sand, salt, or ice melt ahead of time will put you ahead, as many others may have forgotten and will be scrambling last minute.

Clean the Gutters

After all the leaves are off the trees, it’s time to clean out the gutters. If your gutters are backed up from excess water, ice, leaves, pine needles, sticks, and more, they eventually will overflow, and overflowing means that the water isn’t properly being disposed of. This overflow of water can back up against your house, leading to damaged roofing, siding, and wood trim. Clogged gutters can also lead to a weakened foundation, with water finding its way into your basement and going under the concrete.  

Test Alarms 

Typically, house fires occur more frequently during the winter months of December and January, making it crucial to have your smoke detector and other alarms working and ready. Many people this time of year are cranking up the heat, using their wood stoves and furnaces to keep their homes warm, making smoke detectors a vital asset to your home during the holidays. During these winter months, you are more likely to have your home sealed up tight, attempting to keep as much heat in as you can, thus having your carbon monoxide alarm working is also important. Before winter arrives, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure the batteries are working.

Store Outside Furniture 

Getting your patio furniture protected is not only important for preserving its condition but also the condition of the surrounding objects. In the cold winter months, we see the wind gusts rise, making it dangerous to you and your other belongings to have loose furniture sliding around on your deck, patio, and lawn. Also, when you go to store your outside furniture for the winter make sure to wait until a warm, dry day to not trap any moisture in with the furniture.