Ready for winter? Your home may not be!

Winter is coming…

Whether we like it or not, winter IS coming, in fact, it’s right around the corner. Time to put away your summer things, and breakout the boots and parkas. But have you considered how hard the season change may be on your home? Luckily there are some very simple steps you can take to avoid winter home-owning pitfalls, from gutter to garage.

Gutters

Taking care of your roof and gutters is incredibly important, as this area will take the brunt of any winter storms or snowfalls.  Make sure you’ve inspected your roof for any missing shingles or damages. Make sure that gutters and downspouts are free form debris, as wet leaves or other refuse can retain water and freeze, causing significant structural stress.

Climate control: (Heat & AC)

It should go without saying, but AC off, heat on. Take this opportunity to give you AC some much needed TLC, check the fan for debris and foreign objects, bring inside – or- if it’s exposed to the elements make sure it’s covered. 

Check your heating! You don’t want to get caught without it in the first cold-snap of the season, turn it on and make sure you feel warm air coming out of the vents. This is a great time to replace your air filters, make sure vents are unobstructed, and check for potential carbon monoxide leaks.

Fireplaces

If you are one of the lucky few among us who has the luxury of a fire place this winter, it’s important to make sure it’s fully functional. It’s very common for chimney’s to become summer homes for birds, squirrels or other small animals, so make sure it’s clear.

Check the flue damper and test to be sure it opens and closes properly, and check the chimney draft. The easiest way to do this is to place rolled up newspaper in the fireplace, and light – the smoke will rise up the chimney, and NOT into the house.Make sure the fireplace damper is open!

Pipes& Sprinkler Systems

Anything related to water is extremely susceptible to issues when the cold weather rolls in. Make sure that any pipes in insulated areas such as attics, garages or exterior walls are wrapped with foam, or other insulating materials. Make sure all outside water sources are shut off, all garden hoses disconnected, and purge the sprinkler system of water or they could burst.

Insulation (doors windows)

Home insulation is a topic all to it’s own, but there are a few easy steps that can help get your home ready for winter. These include wrapping your hot water tank with an insulating blanket, available in most home-hardware stores, and using foam sealing gaskets (very affordable!) on outside outlets. Don’t forget about the windows! We’ve all heard of the plastic seals, which work but may not contribute to the ambiance of the room. But have you heard of rope caulk? Look for it at any home-hardware store, and press it into any areas where you feel cold air coming in.

Garage & patio furniture

The outside of your home is also important,  make sure to bring in or cover any patio furniture, drain any water features you may have,  and unplug anything drawing electricity. Another often overlooked task is to be sure to drain or use up all the gas form your mower to avoid damage. Don’t forget about your garage! Now is the time to check your weather stripping, and check the caulking around your garage door.