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6 Steps to Protect Your Home This Winter

The cold weather is fast approaching and you want to make sure your home is ready. It is easy to lose track of time in this busy season, but it can be painful to pay the price of a pipe break or a fallen limb of that beautiful shade tree right by your house. By following these 7 steps, however, you can rest assured that you are prepared to enjoy the crisp, cool breeze of fall all the way into whatever ice or snow that winter has in store for us, all with no concern for the well-being of your home sweet home. 

  • Protect indoor and outdoor pipes
    • Before the temperature drops, be sure to locate your shut off valve for any emergencies. You can also insulate your pipes with heat tape or heat cables that are thermostatically controlled and seal any leaks around where the pipes are located, in order to limit cold air getting in. Keeping the temperature in your home at 55° or higher and dripping water in the furthest faucet from the main valve are some of the best ways to help keep your indoor pipes flowing easily once the weather dips below 20°. 
  • Insulate crawl space and attic
    • If you have a dirt floor in your crawl space, a vapor barrier is essential in keeping moisture away from the insulation and wood joists. Sealing doors, vents, sills, and rim joists can also help keep your crawl space insulated. Attics are recommended to have 14”-15” of insulation but studies show that 90% of attics are not properly insulated. Ensuring adequate protection prior to the cold winter months is essential to the well-being of your entire home.
  • Check your furnace, fireplace and chimney
    • While our fireplaces are not in use, chimneys can become cozy homes for birds to nest in, so before you curl up by a warm fire you should confirm there are no nests or debris gathered on the cap. Checking that there are no crumbling bricks or mortar is also imperative before you put your fireplace back in use. If you are using a furnace as your main heat source, now is also a great time to inspect that the safety and operating controls are well adjusted, there are no combustion leaks, and to run a carbon dioxide test. Although it is best to leave a full inspection to the professionals, you can quickly replace your filter if it is dirty. 
  • Repair the exterior of your home 
    • Have you noticed any damaged or missing shingles on your roof? Maybe you have recently found water stains on your walls and ceilings or some damaged gutters. If so, it may be time to get a roof, gutter, and siding inspection. When dealing with the exterior of your home you do not want to wait until there is an issue before getting it checked out. This means that the transition into fall is a great time to be proactive!
  • Trim any overhanging trees branches 
    • Maintaining trees around your home can prove to be essential, especially as winter rolls around. Any branches hanging over the roof can cause damage and rapid aging to your shingles at any time of the year. Adding the weight of ice and snow to those over-extending limbs, however, can result in their breaking and falling. This would cause potential damage to your roof, gutters, and siding – all of which can be costly repairs and replacements.  
  • Recaulk windows and doors to properly insulate 
    • If there are any cracks in the caulking around your windows and doors, this is the perfect time to do some quick touch ups that can make a huge difference in the insulation of your home. While caulking is manufactured to endure extreme temperatures and can be applied year-round, it is recommended to address before the winter weather hits. By taking care of this quick and easy DIY, you can help keep that heating bill down and the temperature up.

Once you have taken these few steps to winterize your home, you can focus on the more fun aspects of the fall and winter months such as planning for the holidays, enjoying time with family as life slows down, and appreciating the beautiful changes in the seasons. By starting early enough, you can be sure to manage even just one project a week and know that your home is ready to face whatever the rest of this year may bring in plenty of time for the changing weather.