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Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather

September 21, 2017
With the leaves beginning to turn, fall lets you know that winter will soon be arriving. Fortunately, fall weather is still pleasant enough so you can spend time outside preparing for colder temperatures. Make the most of fall to winterize the outside of your home and protect your investment.
HouseClean the gutters
Clogged gutters can lead to a myriad of problems: wet basements, exterior wall damage, even roof issues. If they aren’t draining properly, they can fill with ice over the winter which can make them start to pull away from your house. Giving them a good cleaning can keep them in great shape all winter long.
Seal gaps around doors and windows
Up to 10 percent of your winter heating bills can be caused by poor air seals around windows and doors. Inspect the caulk and weather-stripping around windows and doors and replace it if necessary.
Inspect your roof
The last thing you want during winter is a leaky roof because it’s a lot tougher to repair at that time of year. Use binoculars to visually inspect your roof. Look for cracks and wind damage in ridge shingles, damage to metal flashing around vents and chimneys, and missing, curled, or damaged shingles. If you see signs of trouble, call a reputable roofing professional immediately.
Seal your driveways and walkways
When water turns to ice, it expands. This freeze/thaw cycle can be devastating to concrete and asphalt driveways and walkways if they have cracks in them because the cracks will only get wider. Fall is the perfect time to fill these cracks and seal your concrete or asphalt. Even if you don’t have large cracks, it still pays to seal your driveways and walkways every few years to keep the water out and prevent cracks from developing.
Shut off and drain your outside faucets
Once you no longer need to water the lawn and garden or wash the car, disconnect your hoses and bring them in for the winter. Then, find the shut-off valves for your outside faucets and shut them off from inside the house and drain all the water out of the outside faucets. This will prevent your outside pipes from freezing and bursting. It will also prolong the life of the rubber gaskets inside your faucets.
Have your chimney swept
There’s nothing cozier during the winter months than a fire burning in the fireplace. But if not maintained properly, a fireplace can be a hazard. If you burn wood logs in your fireplace, have it inspected annually to prevent a buildup of creosote (a flammable byproduct of burning wood). Chimney flues are also a favorite nesting spot for birds so you will want your chimney sweep to clear the chimney of any obstacles before using the fireplace to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into your home.
Trim your trees
Late fall, when your trees are entering their dormant stage, is the ideal time to trim your trees. Pay particular attention to branches that extend over your house. Trimming these back now will prevent storm damage to your home later.