While the fall has been mild and even warm in many areas, it’s important to realize that winter is right around the corner. There’s no way to tell what the winter might hold, and even if you don’t see much in the way of snow and ice you can still run into some problems if your home isn’t ready for cold winter temperatures. To make sure that you’re as ready as possible for whatever the winter might have in store, here are some things to consider as you make your winterization plans.
Weatherproofing and Heat Loss
One big problem during the winter is heat loss, with doors and windows being some of the biggest culprits here. A few big aspects of weatherproofing to prevent heat loss involve things like installing weather strips on your doors and windows, caulking around windows where you can feel a draft, adding a door sweep to keep drafts from occurring under your door, and even installing a storm door if you don’t have one. Adding thermal plastic over windows and other exposed surfaces can help with this as well.
Leaks and Burst Pipes
Depending on where you live, leaky pipes and even pipes bursting after a freeze can be big problems during the winter. There are a few ways to prevent this, including disconnecting external hoses, installing covers over external faucets, and adding pipe insulation to the pipes under your home. Sealing or caulking cracks and other openings where pipes and conduits travel through walls can also help, as can installing heat cables on your pipes if freezing is a major concern.
Prepare for Heat
If you’re like most people, you’re going to need to heat your home during the winter. It’s best to do some maintenance and testing of your heating systems while it’s still warm so that you’re not left in the cold once winter hits in earnest. If you use a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned to remove creosote and blockages before you have to use it. Clean any external components of your heating system to remove leaves and other debris, then turn the heat on to make sure that it’s actually working properly. Don’t be alarmed if you smell a bit of dust burning off, but if the burning smell continues or the heat isn’t coming out of the vents very well then get some maintenance done on your system.
Check the Roof
Your roof and gutters should be checked toward the end of autumn, after the leaves have mostly stopped falling and before the temperatures drop too much. Look for signs of damaged or missing shingles, as well as any obvious dips, leaks, or weak spots in the roof. Clean your gutters thoroughly and make sure that they’re securely fastened to your home. You might consider installing snow or ice guards to prevent large amounts of snow becoming a falling hazard during the winter as well. In addition, take the time to check your attic and make sure that all the insulation is in good condition and that there’s sufficient ventilation to keep mold and other problems at bay.
While you’re not likely to use them much during the winter, be sure to take an afternoon to clean and maintain your mowers, trimmers, and any other power equipment before you stow it away for the winter. This also applies for any grills or other outdoor equipment you won’t be using again until spring. While you’re at it, do some maintenance and testing of equipment such as leaf blowers, snow blowers, and portable heaters that you might need to use over the winter to make sure that everything is in proper working order.
Heating bills can really climb during a hard winter, so this might be a good time to invest in energy-efficient heating solutions such as a smart thermostat or an upgraded heat pump.