Posted by: Discover Directory on 10/03/2018

Your Winter Checklist: How to Prepare Your House for Winter

Your Winter Checklist: How to Prepare Your House for Winter

It’s October, and not only is Halloween just a few weeks away, but winter is also just around the corner. Between prepping for the holidays and finishing up the last quarter of the year, it can be pretty difficult to remember the little things around your house — like making sure you have enough food for the days you won’t want to leave the house or switching your fans to the winter setting.

 

And that’s just the information you do know. Whether it’s your very first year owning a house or you’ve owned for years, there is always something else to update or check on, and it can be impossible to remember it all.


But forgetting could mean hefty expenses, damage to your house, and expensive heating bills. For example, letting your gutters fill up with leaves could let ice build up and wreck your roof. Or leaving your furnace without a maintenance check could lead to your using it more than usual (jacking up your heating bill) or it breaking down at an inopportune time.  

 

Here are nine items you need to add to your pre-winter checklist before you wind up losing more money than you need to — or worse:


1. Gutters.

Since we’ve already covered this a bit, you need to make sure your gutters are cleaned out. If you don’t, water from either rain or snow could cause leaks and damage your roof and siding. But don’t start before fall is over — do it too soon, and you’ll probably need to get back up on the ladder. 

If you can’t get on the ladder yourself — or don’t want to drag it out of the garage — hire a gutter cleaner like Clean Pro Gutter Cleaning or another service to do it for you.  


2. Windows and Doors.

If your windows and doors aren’t properly sealed before the winter comes, you’ll wind up spending more on heating. Add new caulking around both, especially if the gap between siding is wider than the width of a nickel. And change your screens for storm doors and windows. This handy blog gives step-by-step instructions for installing a storm door this fall. 


3. Roof.

Check your roof for any damaged or loose shingles that could cause leakage from melting snow or particularly icy days. You should also take a look at the seals around your vents and chimney. These issues should be fixed while it’s still pretty warm outside. 

After it rains, check for any problem areas within your house. If you notice a puddle or see any damaged gutters, call in an expert as soon as possible. If there are any cracks or holes in your roof, ice can get in there and make those cracks even bigger. Use a service like Fixii to find the right contractor.


4. Chimney.

While your roof has been taken care of by now, you still need to service your chimney. Clean chimneys keep your house breathable by helping heat, smoke, and gases travel up and out of your home — while a dirty one could make it harder to breathe inside or could even cause a fire. 

According to The Chimney Safety Institute of America, you should have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned whenever necessary. 


5. Smoke Alarms and Fireplaces.

Don’t forget to order firewood as soon as you can — you don’t want to be stuck on a freezing night driving all over the city just to pick up some wood for burning. Be sure to order a hardwood (like oak or maple) that’s at least a year old so that it’ll burn. 

Speaking of fire, it's too easy to go to bed before that warm fire you built earlier is completely burnt out. So you definitely want to make sure your smoke alarms have new batteries and are still viable. Any detectors that are older than 10 years should be replaced so that you know if an emergency does happen, you’re alerted before the worst can occur. If you do need a new one, smart products like the Nest Protect can tell you exactly where the fire is so that you can put it out before you’re put out. 


6. Furnace or Boiler.

 The last thing you need this winter is a faulty furnace. The weather might seem mild right now — it might even stay mild through December — but you don’t want to deal with a huge expense and a freezing house when the roads start getting rough in January. 

If you have an older furnace or boiler, hire a contractor to make any repairs to the equipment, including a thorough cleaning, before winter arrives. If you recently purchased one, check your warranty and call the company that made the install. Many companies that install furnaces and boilers will offer a discount for continued servicing.


7. Pipes.

Turn off any exterior faucets to prevent your pipes from bursting as ice expands. Disconnect your garden hoses and drain any water from them before shutting them off before the first freeze. 

But don’t turn down your thermostat to save money in the winter. Your pipes should be kept warm to prevent freezing — and if you’re anxious about your pipes, maintain a slow drip of water running through them. Read more tips from Consumer Reports’ blog from January 2018.


8. Garden.

Hire a landscaping company or arborist to check out your yard for rotting trees or dangling limbs that might cause damage during the next heavy snowfall. As you rake the leaves this fall, put some into a pile for mulch, and mow over the rest — this way, the leaves break down better and can feed the grass. 

When it comes to your irrigation system, bring in a sprinkler service to drain your lawn-irrigation system to help prevent freezing and leaks. Look into a service like TruGreen to help avoid any damage to your sprinkler system.


9. Winter Supplies.

When we talk about your winter supplies, we’re not talking about your skiing equipment, hot chocolate, or sleds. While all three of those items are a great addition to a fun-filled winter season, some supplies are a little more critical. 

Make sure you have a working shovel for your sidewalk or a snowblower that won’t quit on you before you need to get to work. Make sure your emergency kit has fresh batteries, food, water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, and a portable radio. Do you have any snow melt? If not, now is the time to get some so that no one gets hurt walking to their car.


Don’t let your house get in the way this year's winter — instead, make sure these items are checked off your list before the first winter snowfall, and enjoy the season with ease.

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