The leaves are turning and are beginning to fall. Soon, it will be snowflakes floating lazily down, beautiful at first and then — after months of white — agonizing. Most of us in northern climates spend a great deal more time inside at home during the winter. (That, too, can become agonizing over time!)
To make the experience as pleasant as possible, there are several things you need to do, including getting your Netflix queue up to date and stockpiling the microwave popcorn.
But there’s more to getting your home ready before the snow starts flying — and it’s a crucial process that will help keep you safe and warm.
Here are 12 steps to take as you prepare your home for winter.
The freeze/melt cycle can wreak havoc on gutters, shutters and shingles. Have your roof inspected for loose or missing shingles. Either climb a ladder or hire someone to clean out your gutters. Make sure the water has somewhere to go when it melts.
And speaking of gutters, consider extending your downspouts a few feet away from your home to help prevent water pooling around your foundation. How damaging can that be? Just look at all the potholes that start to appear once the freeze/thaw cycle begins.
Many homes, especially those that have a few decades of wear, can leak heat (or air conditioning for that matter), and that’s just throwing money away. Insulation and window replacement are two ways to save you money in the long run.
If you can’t afford to replace all your windows, at least remove the screens and install the storm windows. If you don’t have storm windows, install plastic sheeting. Kits are available at the local hardware store.
Trees around your home provide shade during the summer and can even help keep your home cooler, which can save on air conditioning costs. But in winter, that same money-saving tree can cost you money if branches heavy with snow break off and damage your home’s structure. Take the time to trim back or remove branches that hang near or over your home.
If a branch does fall, it will most likely land on your roof. Before that happens, make sure to have your roof inspected. Look for missing or damaged shingles and have those replaced.
It’s not just the outside of the home that needs winterizing. Few things can ruin your day like a burst water pipe. Make sure to insulate pipes, especially those adjacent to external walls. Also caulk around doors and windows to prevent drafts.
Consider extending downspouts so the water is released further away from the home’s foundation. If water pools near your home and goes through the freeze/thaw cycle you could end up with the pothole equivalent to your home.
You’ve trimmed back the tree branches, but there is plenty of other vegetation that needs to be addressed. To get your yard ready for winter, make sure to prune back bushes, cut off any diseased foliage from plants and trees, and cut back the perennials to the appropriate level.
If you had a vegetable garden, clear out the weeds that popped up in the past few weeks and remove all the dead plants — or much them back into the soil.
If there’s still time before the snow flies, here are five more things you’ll want to get done:
Change your air filters
Winterize your conditioning units
Flush your water heater
Replace old doors
Have your chimney inspected
The change of seasons brings more than just a change in the weather. It also means work around the house. Preparing your home for the cold will help keep you warm and safe when the worst hits.
All those projects will generate a lot of waste. Make sure you’re prepared to clean up from all the work with a Bin There Dump That bin. To order your bin, visit our website to find the franchise operator nearest you.