Preparing your home for the colder months often means preparing for two specific things: cold temperatures and melted snow. These two things can wreak havoc on a home if they are not prepared in advance. Preparation not only makes the fall and winter months easier, but it also prevents the need for thousands of dollars being spent on repairs.
Prepare Your Gutters
This is a two-step process to handle both the leaves that fall brings and the melted snow that will be coming. The first step is to thoroughly clean out the gutters and the drainpipe to keep them from getting clogged. This may need to be done at the beginning of the fall and then again a month later. The second step is to extend the drain pipes so that they will drain the water further from your home’s foundation. A good guideline is to have the water draining at least 3 feet away from your home. This can be done in minutes with an inexpensive extension found at most home improvement stores.
Have Heating Checked
There are few things worse than going through a frigid winter and having your heating system stop working. And when it’s the middle of the winter, it will be exceptionally hard to get a heating and air company to come out to fix it. To avoid days or weeks of freezing temperatures indoors, have your system checked before the cold sets in. A simple maintenance check can reveal problems that would have led to expensive repairs later.
Have Chimney Cleaned
A chimney inspection is a must for anyone with a wood-burning fireplace. It may not need a cleaning yet, but it’s difficult to know for sure unless you’ve got an inspection. If the inspector finds that it’s ready for the season, great! If it’s found that it needs to be cleaned, you can get that done now before the fireplace is in use. The stakes in getting this done are high- a dirty or blocked chimney can lead to carbon monoxide buildup in the home as well as house fires.
Store Summertime Equipment
If you’ve got a lawnmower in the backyard, window air conditioners and other machinery that won’t be in use during the colder months, it’s time to prepare it to be stored. Cold temperatures can damage these items, and some, like lawnmowers, can be ruined by leaving fuel in them during the winter. Use the manufacturer’s advice for preparing your outdoor equipment for the winter.
If there are any small cracks where warm air can leak out of your home, your heating system will have to work harder to heat it. That means a less-comfortable winter and higher heating costs. Check around doors and windows, seeing whether there are any spaces visible. During the day, looking for any sight of daylight through these cracks is helpful. Exterior caulk is easy to use and inexpensive for plugging those leaking areas. It doesn’t shrink once it’s dry, and it’s made to whether heat, cold and rain.
Test Sump Pumps
If you have a lot of melted snow coming, or simply rain, that’s no time to find out that your sump pump has worn out. Test it before the snow begins by pouring some water into the pump’s sump pit. This should trigger the pump to turn on. If it doesn’t, it may be time for a new unit.
Getting ready for the colder seasons may be a few extra weekends of work put in, but it can prevent an enormous host of problems. And then when winter comes, you’ll know that you and your household are ready to ride it out in comfort.