27 Essential “Get Ready for Winter” Tips to Keep You and Your Home Safe and Warm

2019 December 16

As the days grow short and the temperatures begin to drop, it’s time to prepare your home for winter.  If you are like us and this winter snuck up on you, it’s not too late to protect your largest investment, your home. 

Below are the critical items to check and remedy to make sure your home emerges from the ice and snow unscathed.

 

Stay Warm This Winter

Your home’s doors, windows, and insulation are crucial to stopping air leaks that make your home drafty and cold. When you improve your insulation and stop air leaks, not only will your home be more comfortable, but it can also cost significantly less to heat. 

  • Check your windows and doors for air leaks to prevent heat loss.  Caulk any gaps that are present or replace weather-stripping, if necessary.
  • Inspect the insulation in your attic.  If you had ice build-up last year, it may be a good idea to add insulation in the attic to prevent heat loss.
  • Replace your screen door with a storm door.
  • Repair or replace any glass that may be broken or cracked.
  • Remove any air conditioner from windows and cover your outside condenser to protect it from the elements.
  • If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
  • If you have ceiling fans, make sure they are switched to reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down from the ceiling. (REMEMBER HEAT RISES😊)
  • Replace the filter in your furnace.
  • Clean your humidifier and replace the filter or evaporator pad in the humidifier.

 

Stay Safe

Winter accidents are all too common. The ice, snow, and darkness can cause slip and fall accidents and create tripping hazards in normally easy-to-navigate pathways. The time to prevent accidents is before heavy snows begin to fall.

  • Trim back any overgrown branches from your home or electrical wires to prevent any iced over branches falling and causing property damage or electrical outages.
  • Make sure all exterior lighting is working.  Lighted walkways will help minimize accidents on icy walkways.
  • Make sure all handrails are secure on the stairs.
  • Make sure you have ice melt for sidewalks and steps. If your concrete is less than 2 years old, DO NOT USE SALT. Concrete takes years to completely set and salt can interfere with that process.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected if you have a wood-burning fireplace.
  • Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

 

Get Ready for Snow and Ice

Winter brings with it the harshest weather of the year. Water that would otherwise be harmless expands when it freezes and can damage pipes, faucets, shingles, siding, and other exterior elements of your home. Your grandma’s advice is appropriate here: an ounce of prevention really is worth at least a pound of cure.

  • Clean all gutters to prevent ice dams and ensure melting snow drains properly
  • Check roof shingles and replace any that are damaged or missing
  • Check your exterior flashing for leaks and replace or seal any joints that are failing
  • Prepare your snowblower for snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.  Be sure to start and run your snowblower so you know it works before snow flies.

 

Prepare Your Landscaping for Spring

While our lawns and other landscaping are fallow during winter, the work do in late-Fall and early-winter will prepare them to flourish when the weather warms again. Here are a few things you can do now to get ready to welcome Spring.

  • Aerate your lawn and apply winter fertilizer.
  • Winterize your underground sprinkler system
  • Stake edges of the driveway for snowplows.
  • Weatherize your lawn mower by cleaning it and draining the gas tank
  • Rake leaves and remove to prevent damage to your lawn
  • Cut back perennials so they bud properly come Spring
  • Remove or cover any exterior furniture to protect it from the winter weather
  • Remove any water hoses and store them away for winter to prevent cracks and to preserve their shape

 

In Conclusion

Winter is a time of contemplation and quiet, a season when nature and people alike rest and recover from the frantic activity of the rest of the year.

Use the checklists above to stay safe and warm this winter and ensure that you’re ready for Spring. Make this Winter one to remember!

Written by: Eric DeVries

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