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Home Improvement  /  November 27, 2020

Winter is Coming: 8 Tips to Prep Your Home for the Cold Season

Winter is just around the corner. During this time, some homeowners spend their downtime picking apples, decorating their houses for Christmas, enjoying the autumn foliage while it’s still there and sipping pumpkin-spiced lattes.

The cold season is also the perfect time for home maintenance tasks. Snow and ice can damage your property. A heavy snowfall, for instance, can cause a power outage, freeze pipes and overwork a furnace.

Although you can’t always predict what winter will do to your home, you can take measures to make sure that you spend less time worrying about energy bills and taking care of weather-induced issues.

Here are eight suggestions to help you winterize your home before the first surprise freeze hits your area:

  1. Have Your Furnace Inspected

Before winter officially starts in your area, hire an HVAC contractor to check if the boiler or heating system in your home is running safely and efficiently. This professional will do a visual check on the sensors and contacts, as well as replace clogged or broken filters.

Do your part to keep your heating appliance working optimally by inspecting the filter every month. Replace this component once it turns black or brown.

  1. Insulate Your Windows

Winter drafts can jack up your heating bills. Window air leaks could prevent you from enjoying that cozy and toasty vibe you want inside your house.

Before winter rolls in, add window insulation to your maintenance to-do list. A report from the U.S. Department of Energy revealed that minimizing drafts could potentially net you energy savings from 5 to 30 percent per year. It also makes your living areas more comfortable.

A few simple and affordable window insulation solutions you could do are the following:

  • Clear Nail Polish – This short-term fix, when carefully applied, can fill the crack. Once dry, the polish will stabilize the glass and buy you time to get a replacement in the spring.
  • Rope Caulk – You can mold this sticky stuff to fill the gaps on your windows.
  • V-Seal Weather Stripping – Install this plastic stripping along the sashes to allow your windows to close and open evenly and in place. Pro-tip: this product is also effective on drafty doors.
  1. Insulate Your Pipes

Exposed pipes that run in an unheated area or along a wall become potential hazards during winter. The water flowing through them could freeze and cause a pipe burst when temperatures dip below a certain level.

Protecting these pipes is as easy as installing the appropriate piping insulation. Get the material you need from the hardware store. Then, cut the material to fit the pipe length, wrap it around and secure it with tape if necessary.

  1. Do a Visual Check on Your Roof

The last thing you want is to have a leaky roof in the middle of winter. Before the first snow hits the ground, do a roof inspection to identify potential problems and fix these roofing defects quickly.

If you’re squeamish about heights, don’t fret. You could still thoroughly inspect your roof on the ground using binoculars. As you work your way around your property, keep your eyes peeled for these issues:

  • Broken, missing, curling or blistering shingles
  • Rust spots or cracked caulk
  • Masses of lichen and moss – a red flag for roof decay
  1. Check Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

House fires do happen in winter. During this season, homeowners are more likely to have their property closed up tight, which makes carbon monoxide poisoning a serious health hazard.

Test your smoke detectors to make sure that they’re still working. Replace the batteries inside them if necessary.

  1. Clear Out Your Downspouts and Gutters

Obstruction in your downspouts or gutters can damage the foundation of your house. They also cause nasty ice dams during winter, which can result in costly repairs. Once all the leaves have fallen, clean out the gunk, dead leaves and twigs blocking your gutters.

  1. Mulch Your Flower Beds

Mulching before wintertime helps regulate temperatures in the soil. So, make sure you add hardwood mulch to your flower beds. The mulch will serve as insulation during the cold season. It helps safeguard your plants from freezing temperatures.

  1. Inspect Tree Branches

Check your property for branches growing over your house, driveway, garage and transmission lines. These parts could snap, come down and damage your property. If you come across branches that could destroy your home, get in touch with an arborist for an assessment. The arborist may recommend having the branches trimmed or the tree removed if the plant is diseased.

These eight cold weather tips will help you get ready for the coming season. Take note that you can accomplish some winter preps in a single weekend. So get moving before you see the first snow hit the ground.

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