How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

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The arrival of winter brings the joyous holiday season but also cold weather that can cause problems for your home if you don’t prepare. Get your home ready for the winter weather, by following these steps.

Test Your Heating

Before the cold weather is fully upon us, you should check your furnace or heat pump to make sure that everything is working properly. You don’t want to get to the first freezing day only to find out that your heating needs fixing and the technician isn’t available for days. Avoid that problem by testing your heating early.

Inspect Your Fireplace

Fireplaces are a lovely, romantic home feature when they’re in good shape. In bad shape, they can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of you and your loved ones. Ahead of firing it up for the first time, make sure to do a thorough inspection of your fireplace, both in and out of your house.

Hiring a professional is always a good idea. If you choose to do the inspection yourself, look for debris buildup, crumbling and cracking, and tree limbs near the chimney. Any damage you see should be addressed by a professional.

Test Smoke (and Carbon Monoxide) Detectors

Winter is when the majority of house fires take place since everyone turns up the heat. People also generally close their homes up tight in the winter so carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a greater concern. That means checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is an essential part of your winter home preparation. Make sure all the detectors have batteries and are in working order.

Clean the Gutters

As the leaves drop from the trees in the fall, some may get caught in your rain gutters along with twigs, dirt, and other buildup. You should remove all this debris from your gutters after the leaves have fallen and before wintertime to avoid ice dams or damage to the house’s foundation. It’s not the most pleasant job around the house but it could save you from costly repairs in the winter.

Insulate the Windows

When the temperature drops and you start cranking up the heat, you don’t want all that warm air to just escape out the windows. You’ll pay more on your energy bill and be less comfortable in your home. Closing any air leaks in your windows can help prevent this problem.

You have several affordable options for insulating your windows. One of the simplest is shrink film. All you have to do is heat it with a hairdryer to get a perfectly sealed off window. Another option is rope caulk which you can apply over any gaps in the window and remove when the warmer months arrive.

Use a Door Sweep

It’s not a very high-tech winter solution but a door sweep can keep cold air from getting into your home from below an exterior door. Installation is simple and can make a big difference in your home’s temperature.

Inspect the Roof

Right before winter arrives is a great time to do a quick inspection of your roof. A leaky roof during a snowstorm would be a big problem so it’s better to get an inspection out of the way in the fall. Going around the house, check for buckling or broken shingles, excessive moss, cracked caulk, or damaged rubber boots. Any of these could be signs of a roof problem that you should have a professional fix before winter arrives.

Prepare the Pipes

Frozen pipes are a nightmare no homeowner wants to deal with. To avoid this potentially very expensive problem, review your plumbing pipes before wintertime. Check for exposed pipes in areas of the home that aren’t insulated and insulate the pipes. If you’re leaving your home for the winter, be sure to shut off the water and drain the system.

Winterize the Sprinkler System

Sprinklers area great time-saver when it comes to maintaining a lush, green lawn. However, that doesn’t mean that the sprinklers themselves don’t require their own maintenance, especially in areas where ground temperatures dip below freezing. Each winter you’ll want to make sure that you’ve properly prepared the system for cold weather by draining out the water and insulating the sprinkler components. You can hire a professional for this seasonal task if you are not familiar with the steps required.

Close Up the Pool

Fall is the time to get your pool closed up tight before the winter comes. You should make sure everything is properly shut down to avoid leaks and freezing. Refer to the pool or spa manufacturer’s guide to make sure you do everything properly.

Put Away Outdoor Items

The outdoor furniture and decorations that provide so much enjoyment over the summer need to be stored to avoid damage in the winter. Cover up the patio furniture or store it inside to keep it safe. Drain water features like fountains that might freeze and crack. Clean the grill and put it under a cover.

By following these tips, you can get your home ready for winter. A prepared home means less stress and more time having fun in the snow or warming up in front of the fire.

This article is derived from various professional opinions and may not be inclusive of all necessary precautions. Campbell Homes is not liable for damages to a home from any of these suggestions or missing recommendations.

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