Decorating and meal-prepping might be the first things on your mind when it comes to preparing your home for the colder months Here are important fall maintenance tips that can make all the difference once winter’s first freeze hits.
1. Clear out your gutters: All those colorful leaves falling from the trees sure are pretty — but they also pile up pretty quickly in your home’s gutters. Even if you have gutter guard silt or excess debris can lead to clogs which can prevent gutters from draining properly. So before winter hits, clear your house’s gutters of leaves and any other debris that might’ve accumulated during the summer months. It also helps to run water through the gutters afterward to check for any leaks or misalignments that could damage your home. Don’t forget to check the down spouts.
2. Inspect for air leaks: Things like damaged weather stripping and small cracks in your home’s structure allow warm air to escape, causing your heater to go into overdrive to keep your place warm. The solution to your chilly house and high utility bills is pretty simple: before it gets wintery outside, inspect your home’s windows, doorways, and any other places where air might be able to enter or exit. You can use caulking to stop leaks in the stationary components of your home (like a crack in your doorframe) and weather stripping to insulate the moving components (like windows and doors).
3. Have your heating system checked: Home just doesn’t feel like home if a malfunctioning heater is leaving you with the chills. And in parts of the country with freezing temps, it can be a much more serious situation. Seek a licensed contractor for an appointment to come out to inspect your heater at least once a year, especially before the weather outside becomes frightful. Ask about the condensate drain line. If needed consider a moister detector that will alarm if water gets more than a 16th of an inch deep. This will let you know you have a potential problem.
4. Prepare your pipes: Get to know where the pipelines in your house are located and make sure to inspect them every autumn. Simply patch any small leaks with heat tape to help reduce weaknesses that might cause the pipe to burst in freezing weather. And you can further protect any exposed outdoor pipes by insulating them with foam or rubber pipe wraps, which can be found at your local hardware store. For larger leaks or pipeline problems, it’s always a good idea to play it safe and call the pros.
5. Drain any outside faucets and irrigation systems: Speaking of bursting pipes, it’s important to pay attention to the water systems immediately outside your place too. Undrained water in outdoor faucets and irrigation systems can expand when frozen and cause a pipe to burst. Draining faucets is simple enough: just pack away your garden hoses in the garage for the winter and let out any remaining water.
6. Have your roof inspected: For your safety, a full-blown roof inspection should be done professionally. Reinforcing and protecting your roof can help you avoid a whole host of hazards, like air and water leaks, water damage, mold, and more — all of which could put a damper on your seasonal festivities (and your wallet).
7. Restock cold-weather home essentials: Key items like rock salt or kitty litter, snow shovels, space heaters, extra batteries, and heated blankets can help make your home both more functional and comfortable during wintertime. Stock up on these helpful winter wares ahead of time to help avoid any extra hassle or stress come holiday season
8. Take a peek at your homeowners insurance: Believe it or not, your homeowner’s policy could come to the rescue for a whole host of cold-weather mishaps.