Your home is the place where you spend most of your time. Especially this year, with the Covid-19 pandemic keeping many people indoors more than usual, it is important to keep your home in top shape. The winter months are full of hazardous weather and things that can be damaging to your home.
This is why it’s important to prepare your home for winter weather, and get a head start on fixing it up before the cold fully sets in. You may have some repairs that you’ve been putting off or systems that need inspection, or maybe you just need to stock up on supplies in case of winter emergencies.
All of these things, and more, are important to take care of before winter fully arrives. The last thing you want is to be the 200th person on a waitlist for repair services because you waited too long. Getting things done now will save you trouble in the long run. But what are some of the things you need to do to prepare your home for winter weather?
Check your heating
When you install HVAC into your home, you are making an investment to keep yourself warm and cozy during the winter months. Keeping your heating systems up to date is vital to staying safe and a big step to prepare your home for winter weather.
Now is the time to get your system inspected and make sure it is running smoothly. If it needs repairs or even residential heating replacement, take care of it now so you don’t get caught with no heat in the middle of winter.
Repair services and companies for things like HVAC, plumbing, and other vital home systems will be very busy during winter because that’s when a lot of systems malfunction. So taking care of it now will mean that you don’t have to wait two weeks for repairs.
Inspect the roof
When it rains or snows, your roof is the only thing protecting your home from getting soaked inside. Whether you do it by yourself or hire a residential roofing service, inspecting your roof is vital to making sure it can withstand the cold winter months. Make sure that no sections of it are missing or damaged, and if they are, replace them.
Clean out your gutters
Cluttered gutters can be a bad thing for your home. They can cause water to back up and sit there, which can cause damage to the gutter or your roof and walls. And in the winter, this water can freeze, leading to even more damage.
So to prepare your home for winter weather, give your gutters a good cleaning. It shouldn’t take very long, and it will save you a lot of trouble down the line.
Turn off outside faucets
If you’ve got faucets outside your house, turn them off now. In fact, if your water controls allow you to do so, it’s a good idea to cut off water flow to them completely.
This is because in the cold months of winter, water freezes. And if even a little bit of water is dripping from your faucet, it will freeze, which can cause irreparable damage to your faucets and pipes.
Check your insulation
If you have an attic, now is the time to make sure that it is well insulated. Insulation keeps the air inside your house trapped inside, and the air outside trapped outside.
For many people, two-thirds of their annual natural gas bill comes from the winter months, because heating is more necessary. But without proper insulation, heat will escape, and that number could be a lot higher. So make sure your insulation is up to date to save you time and money, and keep you nice and cozy.
Check window seals
Much like insulation, windows can be a way for heat to escape your home. Check the seals around your windows to ensure that they don’t let any air in or out. This is a great and easy way to prepare your home for winter weather.
Trim your trees
Winter storms can be very tough. They often have heavy snowfall and strong winds. These factors can cause tree limbs to break, and fall onto whatever is below them. And if what’s below them is your roof, it could be bad for you.
This is why trimming your trees before winter sets in is important. Remove any branches that hang over your roof and any that are angling towards it. Also, check to see if any of your trees are rotting. Rotting trees are weaker, so it’s a good idea to get them removed so they don’t fall into your house during a storm.
Check your pipes
This is one of the most important ways to prepare your home for winter weather. Your house runs on plumbing, and a burst pipe could cause a lot of damage. So get your plumbing system professionally inspected to make sure everything is running smoothly, and take care of any repairs that may be needed.
Cold weather can be harder on pipes, which is why they burst more often in winter. Taking care of it now will help you avoid needing emergency plumbing repairs during the coldest months.
Repair your fence
Winter carries two reasons why fence repairs can be important. The first is that winter storms mean strong winds, heavy snow, and falling tree branches. These things can all cause damage to your fence, and so making sure it is as strong as possible now will help prevent further damage over winter.
The second reason is animals. When it’s cold, animals will be looking for a warm place to stay. And your home might seem like just that place. A good fence will help keep these critters out of your yard, and the smaller ones out of your home. So to prepare your home for winter weather, make sure your fence is strong and sturdy.
Check the garage door
Though you may not think about it, the cold can be harsh on your garage door as well. Extremely cold temperatures might make it harder for your door’s mechanisms to function properly. So get everything checked out now to make sure it will be able to withstand the cold.
This could mean checking the electrical components of your door, oiling the mechanisms, or getting garage door spring repairs. Whatever you have to do, you will be better off to get it done before the cold fully sets in.
Inspect your wiring
Much like plumbing, your home needs its wiring to run properly. Without it, you won’t have lights and electricity. And a problem in the wiring can lead to damage to your home and even fires.
Now is the time to get your residential electrical system inspected. If you have any faulty wiring, get it repaired or replaced. This will help prevent you from losing power or having disasters when winter comes.
Check your fireplace
If you have a fireplace and chimney, you’re probably going to be using it a lot more in the cold months. So to prepare your home for winter weather, get it checked out now.
Make sure that the chimney is clear of dirt and debris. It’s not a bad idea to get it professionally cleaned before winter comes. A buildup of debris could cause heat and smoke to get trapped, which would be very bad for your home. So getting it cleaned now will mean that it can run smoothly all winter long.
The batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are a vital step to prepare your home for winter weather, and in fact to keep your home safe year-round. These instruments are your early warning system in case of disaster, and could be the difference between life and death.
So make sure that you have fresh batteries in all of your detectors, and have as many in the house as you should. This will help keep you and your family safe during the cold winter months.
Create a storm survival kit
Now that you’ve done a lot of things to prepare your home for winter weather, there are a few things you can do to prepare in case of problems. Obviously, you hope that the winter will run smoothly. But storms, power outages, and accidents do happen, so it’s important to be prepared for them, just in case.
The first thing you can do is create a storm survival kit. This can be used in case of very bad storms that cut off power, trap you in your home, and cut you off from the rest of the world. The kit should have non-perishable foods, bottled water, first aid supplies, flashlights or candles, and anything else you think you may need in the event of a bad storm.
With this in place, you will feel much more prepared if a storm hits, and already know what to do. If you have a family, this kit can also include methods of entertainment, like board games or books. After all, a week with no electricity could mean a lot of boredom for you and your kids.
Get a backup generator
If you are able to, it’s a great idea to invest in a backup generator. Winter storms can often knock out power, and although your survival kit may include all of the lights and entertainment you need, it can still be very bad.
For example, no power means that your fridge can’t run, so all of the food will spoil. It also means that your heat won’t be working, which can be dangerous when the temperature gets very low. So investing in a generator in case of power outages will help prevent some of the worse effects of a storm.
Prepare for water damage
Even if your roof is in top shape and your gutters are clean, water damage can still happen. This can mean having to deal with wood flooring repair, antique rug restoration, the loss of precious items, and more.
To avoid being caught totally off guard, make a plan in case something does happen. Know where you can go to get emergency water damage restoration services. Doing this to help prepare your home for winter weather is very important.
Stock up on salt
Icy sidewalks can be very dangerous for you and your family, and icy driveways even worse. So stock up on salt now, and if you know a storm is going to hit, salt your driveway and pathways beforehand. This will prevent the buildup of ice, and hopefully prevent anyone from getting hurt.
Lastly, the most important step to prepare your home for winter weather is to have a first aid kit handy. Strong storms, falling limbs, icy sidewalks, and cold weather can all cause hazards to your health. Keeping a first aid kit ready to go will help you be prepared in case of an emergency.
This kit should include bandaids, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin or a similar antibiotic, a suture kit, and anything else you think you might need. It’s also a good idea to include hand warmers and hot chocolate, to help warm people up who have been out in the cold. And including some treats could help injured children feel a bit better.
All prepped and ready to go
Clearly, there is a lot you should do to prepare your home for winter weather. Cleaning the gutters, checking pipes, repairing heating systems, getting a generator, investing in antique rug restoration, and making a storm survival kit might seem like a lot of work. But they are all vital parts of preparing for the winter months.
This winter, you will probably be spending a lot of time in your home. And the less sturdy and safe your home is, the more problems you will have. So it makes sense to take care of all preparations now, to save yourself trouble down the line. Once you’ve gotten everything done, you will be able to relax, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy time by the fire with your family.