10 Tips for Winter Home Preparation

10 Tips for Winter Home Preparation

Winter is upon us! While everyone is preparing for all the winter fun, your home may need some preparation too. It’s pretty simple to keep your home in tip-top shape while also enjoying all the good times that come with the cold. So what needs to be done before the first big frost hits? In this article, we will cover 10 things that are important in keeping your home warm and in good shape all through the winter.

Your roof is your first line of defense against several issues. Broken, missing, or loose roof shingles can lead to lots of expensive fixes. It’s a good idea to either take a look yourself or have a roof inspector come out and take a look around your roof. They should be checking for damaged shingles, spots where water can leak in, etc. During the winter, snow and ice can gather on your roof. Because snow weighs between 20-25 lbs, if left on the roof for too long, shingles can sustain a lot of damage, opening your home up to a multitude of issues including leaks and holes where pests can make their way in.

Your gutters are your second line of defense during the winter. If your gutters are clogged during freezing temperatures, you’ll have frozen debris and water that has nowhere to go besides onto your home. To combat this, it’s important to keep your gutters clear of debris so melting ice and water can flow into the downspouts and away from your home. Before the first big freeze of the winter, make sure your gutters are secure against the side of your home and that the pitch is angled correctly to push water away from your home.

Dead or ailing branches put your home in a bad spot. Branches can already cause damage if they fall, but if those branches are covered in ice or a bit of snow, it can cause thousands in damage to your roof, siding, porch, or vehicle. Before the first big frost of winter, it’s a good idea to call a handyperson or an arborist to come check out your trees and remove any branches that could be a threat to your home. This is a good step not only in the case of falling branches, but it can save your roof from dealing with excess moisture from water dripping off branches.

Outdoor Water Sources
As usual, you should drain and store all outdoor hoses and sprinklers before temperatures plummet. The best way to do this is to turn off the water valve inside your home and drain all the spigots. If you just turn off the spigot, the water left in the pipes has a much higher chance of freezing and leading to burst pipes.

Mark Your Paths
When there’s ice or snow on the ground, it can be hard to maneuver around the outside of your home. It’s a good idea to mark major areas such as your driveway, walkways, garden beds, etc. This will aid in the case of having to shovel some snow or arriving home at night. You can use yard markers, driveway flags, or even fiberglass snow poles to mark the major areas.

Fireplace & Chimney
Chimneys, fireplaces, and heating equipment are the leading causes of house fires in the winter. It’s imperative that you have all your heating elements serviced and maintained annually to ensure they are working properly and not at risk of causing a fire. When you have your chimney checked out, make sure the inspector takes a look at the brick to be certain that moisture isn’t leaking into your home. You’ll also want to have the cap looked at to make sure that heat seeking pests won’t find a way into your home.

Insulating your home is one of the most important steps to keeping your home warm all winter and keeping the cold air out. You’ll want to pay special attention to areas around recessed lighting, the attic hatch, plumbing vents, and windows. Insulating your attic will prevent not only wasted energy but ice dams and other major issues that could result in expensive repairs.

Outdoor Lights
If you currently have outdoor lights, whether they be on your walkway, driveway or porch, they need to be checked to ensure they are in operating condition and ready for the cold. This is especially important in the winter as daylight disappears much faster and you will want to rely on them when returning home. Garage lights are among the most important for comfortably leaving and arriving at your home in the freezing temperatures.

Prevent Pests
The Winter brings out more pests than warmer months at times. Mostly because pests are looking for warm places to hide out while temperatures drop. To prevent this, you can take this one step and give yourself peace of mind. Simply take some time and walk around your home observing the foundation. Take note of any cracks or holes in the foundation where heat seeking pests could enter from the outside. If you find any holes, it’s a good idea to call someone to have these areas patched up and to ensure there aren’t any pests that have already infiltrated.

Indoor Pipes
Protecting your indoor pipes can save you thousands of dollars in potential damage. A burst indoor pipe can cost around $5000 in repairs after the fact. But it costs very little to be prepared for plummeting temperatures. Insulating exposed copper or PVC pipes is where you can prevent the most damage. It only costs around $0.50 per foot of insulation. You’ll want to be sure pipes under sinks, attics, crawl spaces, and along exterior walls are all insulated. Paying special attention to your basement is also a good idea as 37% of all burst pipes occur in basements.

Keeping your home in good shape during the winter takes a little effort, but it is so worth it. These simple steps will ensure nothing unprecedented happens on your property and keep you and your family warm and happy during the colder months. Happy Winter!