How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

During the harsh months of winter weather, your home may begin to deteriorate quickly if you do not properly prepare. This fall, you will want to take the time to protect your investment by preparing your home for winter. There are many ways to help your home better survive the winter months, including maintenance and preparation. These are a few tips on how to prepare your home for winter.

Inspecting the Heating System

The first way how to prepare your home for winter is to inspect the heating system. Depending on how they are maintained, a typical heating system should last anywhere from twelve to fifteen years, while some may stop working after ten years and some are as good as new after twenty years. Before the start of winter, having your heating system looked at by trustworthy HVAC contractors.

An even better option is to set up an annual maintenance agreement with heating repair services. Either way, allows the contractors to inspect your heating system and make sure everything is functioning properly. It is preferable to discover any issues with your heating system during the moderate weather of fall and have them fix them before the frigid temperatures of winter. The very least you can do to prepare your heating system for winter is to change the filters.

Sealing Exterior Wood

If you are wondering how to prepare your home for winter, any exterior wood trim that your home has needs to be seal to protect it from the weather elements. The wood used for exterior structures such as decks is resistant to rot and treated with pressure, meaning it will stand up to the elements. For your deck, other preventive measures such as metal railings are usually taken. On the other hand, the wood trim that is used around the exterior of windows and doors is usually unfinished pine wood that will degrade quickly if it is not properly protected.

how to prepare your home for winter

This wood used for trim around your doors and windows may even begin to rot. In this case, replacing the trim to look like new will come with a substantial cost and will even be a difficult task for the professionals. If necessary, contact a commercial door company. Although, you should be proactive and prevent your wood trim from rotting to begin with, one of the many important ways how to prepare your home for winter. Along with sealing your exterior wood trim, you need to keep it caulked and painted to prevent rot. You can be proactive by painting and caulking the wood trim yourself. Inspect the wood trim around the exterior of your home and see if the paint is flaking or chipping away or the caulk is cracking. If you find any evidence of this, remove the old caulk or paint and apply a new layer or coat.

If you discover that the wood trim has already rotted and needs to be replaced, you will likely have to hire a trim carpenter to fix this issue. Since your deck and many other exterior structures are likely already treated or made from wood that is resistant to rot, it does not need to be sealed or stained every year, but it still needs to be inspected regularly. To inspect your deck, pour some water over the wood. If it beads up, the wood is properly stained and seal. If the water soaks into the wood, it needs to be restrained and resealed. For more information about your deck, contact the consulting engineers who designed it.

Sealing Masonry

Along with any exterior wood, your masonry, including your driveways, walkways, or concrete patio, needs care and attention as well. To care for your concrete, apply a concrete sealer on occasion. While masons put control joints in concrete in an attempt to prevent cracking, any exterior surface that is flat and made from concrete will eventually develop cracks over time. Regularly inspect your concrete for cracks and fill them in with a sealer. This will prevent water from getting in and freezing during the winter months, ensuring that your costly concrete project lasts longer.

If you have a driveway made from asphalt, there are many companies that provide quick and inexpensive driveway resealing. As an alternative, you can purchase an asphalt sealer and apply it yourself. If your asphalt is showing any cracks, you should patch them before applying sealant.

Inspecting the Drainage

Another way how to prepare your home for winter is to inspect your drainage system. The most important part of ensuring proper drainage for your home is inspecting the foundation to see if any soil has settled, which creates spots for water to pool. If the soil around your foundation becomes over-saturated, it will freeze and thaw during winter, resulting in serious problems. If you find any low spots where the soil has settled, just fill it back in with new soil. Another important step in ensuring proper drainage for your home is inspecting the rain gutter downspouts. You want to check and make sure that water is flowing away from the home. If necessary, you may need to install extenders on the downspouts.

Cleaning the Gutters

how to prepare your home for winter

The next way how to prepare your home for winter is to clean your gutters. After the leaves have finished falling off the trees, it is a good time to clean your gutters. If left unattended, leaves and other debris will accumulate in your gutters and clog them up. This will cause water to back up, overflow, and run down the side of your home, causing deterioration and water damage to your home’s exterior. Backed up gutters can also cause water to permeate the basement and under concrete walkways and porches, causing the foundation to deteriorate, along with many other problems. If necessary, a professional such as a roofer can help clean out your gutters.

Cleaning Your Fireplace

Another way how to prepare your home for winter is to clean your fireplace. Since you are likely planning to build some fires during the chilly months that are to come, you should plan to have your fireplace cleaned before winter arrives. A reliable chimney sweep company will clean your fireplace, perform any necessary maintenance, and ensure that your fireplace is safe to use. It is also a good idea to plan ahead and purchase some firewood before winter arrives. It is recommended to buy the firewood in bulk for a better price and stack it and cover it in your yard, away from your home. If you are planning to use old firewood, check to see if it is rotten. Alternatively, you can use a heating oil delivery for your furnace.

Testing Your Detectors

Testing your home’s detectors is one of the many ways how to prepare your home for winter. Since fires are built and the heat is used more often during the winter months, this is also the time when house fires most commonly occur. It is also the time in which homes are more likely to be closed up tight, increasing the chances of carbon monoxide becoming a hazard. Periodically inspect your smoke detectors and test them to see if they are functioning correctly. If they are not working well, the batteries likely need to be changed. If your home does not have carbon monoxide detectors, you should think about having them installed before winter arrives. In addition, make sure the HVAC experts have properly vented the heating system, water heater, and furnace, which are most often the sources of carbon monoxide.

Closing the Pool

Whether it is above ground or below ground, your pool as well as its filtration system needs to be closed properly and prepared for the winter. Many pool experts recommend having a professional inspect and close down your pool and filtration system for the winter, even if you take care of your own pool the rest of the year. In the fall, right before winter starts is the best time to have any issues with your pool repaired since spring is the busiest time of year for pool contractors.

how to prepare your home for winter

Along with your pool, make sure your outside water faucets are properly prepared for the winter. If you have never paid attention to them previously, your outside water faucets are likely not protected from the weather elements. In this case, they can begin to leak, or even worse, they can freeze during the cold weather and split the water line well inside your home, resulting in a flooded basement. Before winter arrives, simply drain the water out of the line. Start by shutting off the water to your outdoor faucet by turning the valve. Next, turn the exterior faucet valve outside and allow most of the water to drain out from the line. Therefore, if the water in the line does freeze, it has room to expand without causing damage to seals or pipes. Leave the valve to your outside spigot off until you have to use it the following spring.

In addition to your pool and its filtration system, your sprinkler system needs to be shut down properly and prepared for the winter. To properly shut down your sprinkler system, the line will most likely need to be blown out. This is usually a job best suited for a professional, along with roofing and plumbing repair, so it is worth the price. Since 80 percent of Americans are struggling with debt, having a professional winterize your sprinkler system is much cheaper than having to replace multiple broken lines next year.

Preparing Your Lawn

The secret to having a beautiful lawn in the spring is to begin preparing it during the prior fall. Newly planted grass does not grow during the extreme cold or extreme heat. Therefore, September and October as well as April and May are the only two windows you have to plant new grass. If you do not being preparing your lawn in the fall, you are losing half the amount you could have. Fall is also the best time to overseed, preferably around late September. During this window, you should aerate your lawn and overseed it. Then when late October or early September comes around, you can apply winterizer and fertilizer.

Inspecting Your Trees

Before your trees lose all their leaves, inspect them and ensure that they are healthy. Pay the most attention to trees that are closest to your or your neighbor’s house, since they could potentially fall on them. An unhealthy tree will not always be obvious, especially if you have a plethora of trees. Fall is not usually the best time to trim your trees, but if branches are pushing up against your home, you should trim them before winter arrives to prevent having branches coated in ice damaging your windows or siding. If this results in damage to your house, residential siding services can help with repairs.

Preparing Your Attic

how to prepare your home for winter

Preparing your attic is another important way how to prepare your home for winter. During the cold winter weather, your attic will become an attractive home for animals such as birds and squirrels. These animals can actually cause damage to your home, including your roof. In this case, contact re-roofing services. Trimming your trees away from your home is one of the best measures you can take to prevent animals from taking up occupancy in your attic. Other preventive measures you can take are putting up a screen behind your gable vents and making your gable vents themselves are intact. Finally, take a walk around your house to inspect your fascia and soffit. Check to see if there are any holes large enough for birds to pass through.

Inspect Your Insulation

During the fall, before winter arrives is the best time to inspect your insulation. This is also the optimal time to inspect your door seals. Check to see if daylight is visible around your exterior doors. For the areas around light switches and outlets that create drafts, fill them in with a can of spray foam insulation. If you never have before, having a professional energy audit done is a fantastic investment for the winter and one of the best ways how to prepare your home for winter.

Putting Away Yard Equipment

The last way how to prepare your home for winter is to putt away your yard equipment. Before you put away your lawn equipment in storage, make sure the gas tank is empty. Gas that sits over the winter can go bad. Next spring, this will result in an unpleasantly sticky substance built up on the fuel filters, which will make your equipment run poorly. Before winter, drain the gas from your lawn equipment into a gas can, which can actually then be used in your car. Another option would be to mix a fuel stabilizer with the gas if you wish to preserve it over the winter months.

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