The leaves have fallen; the days are getting shorter; and the weather’s getting colder. Soon the snow will fly, and you’ll be snuggling on the couch with a good book in front of a warm fire. But before you get too comfortable, make sure that your house is ready for the cold days of winter.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself to get ready for the winter and minimize the chance that your home will be damaged or someone will be hurt on your property. Although some of these tips are storm related, many of them should be done before winter hits.
- To ensure sufficient heat and minimize the risk of fire, make sure that your furnace is clean and works properly. Also, make sure that the pipe bringing fuel to the furnace doesn’t leak.
- Ice and snow can weigh down trees or limbs; if the boughs break, they could damage your home or vehicle, or injure someone. Trim them before the storm season starts.
- To prevent water from building up and freezing in your gutters, clean dead leaves and other debris from them. While you’re up there, clean out the chimney and install a screen over it to prevent future clogging.
- Repair cracked or peeling caulking to reduce the possibility of water seepage freezing in the door or window frames. Doing so will also keep out the cold air, reducing your heating bills.
- Keep snow and ice from building up around any exterior doors. If you do, the doors will close completely (saving heat) and won’t rot or warp from water damage.
- Insulate exposed pipes near exterior walls.
- Promptly shovel your sidewalks and driveways after a storm. Salt or sand them to help prevent falls.
- Keep sidewalks and driveways well lit so people can see where they’re walking.
- Keep stairs, outdoor steps, bannisters and handrails in good repair.
- Clear excessive snow or ice from your deck to prevent its collapse.
- Attach heating strips to the edge of your roof to help prevent ice and snow buildup. If possible, clear your roof of excessive ice or snow to prevent both water damage and injury from falling accumulations.
Once you’ve winterized your home, you can feel more at ease when you settle down with a that book on the couch before the fire.