New homeowners discover a lot when they purchase their first property. You might picture taking care of your lawn and decorating for the holidays. However, there’s a lot more to know.
Before winter settles in, take the time to prepare your home for the cold weather. Some homeowners forgo this process and face preventable wintertime emergencies.
Learn easy things you can do now to get your home ready for winter. Once you determine which methods work best, you can repeat them in the future to keep your house safe and warm.
Clean Your Gutters
In the fall, you might feel like you clean your gutters a couple of times a week. Dead leaves, pine needles and other debris clog gutters due to high winds. You’ll need to clean them a few more times as the weather changes.
Debris can cause damage to your gutters and drainage pipes if left to freeze. Clean up after each storm to prevent winter damage to your home’s exterior. An extension ladder is the best option when working along the edge of a roof, especially for a two-story house.
Sweep Your Chimney
If you have a fireplace, you’re likely looking forward to building a roaring fire. The damage comes when you don’t clean the chimney after months of disuse. Pay for a professional to inspect it and ensure it’s not a fire hazard.
The professional who takes a look at your chimney may also recommend that you get a carbon monoxide alarm if you don’t have one already. It will plug in next to your fireplace and let you know if the harmful gas is building up in your chimney.
Grease Your Garage Door
You want your garage door working correctly during winter to prevent heat loss and reduce bills. Grease the tracks, rollers and any other mechanical parts at least once before the temperatures drop.
Opening the door takes a lot of power. Keep the remote and keypad batteries fully charged in the winter to prevent it from getting stuck in mid-air. If your garage door is not insulated, consider investing in a winterized version.
Shut Off Water Systems
Do you live in an area where the temperature drops? When you wake up on a December morning, is it common for icicles to hang from the eaves? With weather like this, your pipes can freeze and burst.
Shut off all exterior water systems, such as pool pumps and sprinklers, before they have the chance to ice up. Before you head back inside, drain the hoses of any remaining water.
Inspect Your Gable Vents
Animals know they need to find a place to hide when the weather gets cold. They burrow underground and into nests. They’ll also try to sneak into your gable vents. This feature is found directly under your roof, near the attic. It’s not the ideal living situation, but animals tend to get desperate.
Inspect your gable vents to ensure no animals currently live in your home. Then, install a fine mesh screen to ensure nothing can get in. If you have access to the attic, you can do this from inside. If you’re a packrat, you might need a ladder.
Prep Your Supplies
One last thing to do before winter arrives is to prepare your supplies. Some homeowners will want to stock up on firewood. Others may want to break out the snow shovels and salt.
If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, keep a shovel inside in case you need to dig your way out. It’s also advisable to keep one in your car, just in case you slide off the road or get stuck.
Stay proactive this fall to keep your home safe and warm. As the temperature begins to drop, it’s crucial to inspect your home and make necessary changes. If you follow the advice above, you’ll enjoy your home for many winters to come.