10 Things You Need To Do

As we approach winter, it’s crucial to prepare your home and keep it in tip-top shape. You’ll want to protect your home from the wear and tear the cold season can bring.

Moreover, preparing for winter doesn’t just protect your home. It can also help you stay warm and toasty. That’s no small task — excluding Hawaii and Alaska, the cold season in the entire United States averages just above freezing temperatures, at a chilly 33.2°F or 0.7°C.

That’s why it’s essential to know how to prep your home for winter — and who to hire to help you make it happen.

Where Do Winter Issues Begin?

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For many people, cranking up the heat is a must to stay comfortable during the cold season. The first thing most homeowners do at the start of winter is to turn up the thermostat and close their home to try to retain heat.

If you can relate, know that too much heat can trap moisture. Additionally, the more people you have staying — and breathing — inside your home, the more moisture and stagnation builds up, causing your interiors to expand and contract. A common sign is having trouble closing doors, as they no longer fit in their frames. Cracks in the drywall, heaved floors, separated wood trim, and many other issues may come up as well.

For rooms that either don’t have proper ventilation or their own heat source — like the attic or the basement — the condensation caused by neighboring temperature-controlled rooms can create mildew, mold and can encourage infestation.

Protect Your Property With These Winter Home Tips

We’ve created a list of maintenance tasks you can refer to when preparing your home for winter:

1. Check Your Home’s Air Conditioning And Heating Systems.

Make sure that your AC is cleaned and in working order. While most air conditioners and heating systems last 12 to 15 years, they tend to break down much earlier due to a lack of maintenance. If you’re not familiar with your air conditioning or home heating systems, it’s best to hire a reputable contractor who can take care of them for you. Your contractor will inspect the air conditioning and home heating system, show you the proper way to change the filters, and explain how frequently you should be changing them.

2. Prep And Seal Your Home’s Exterior.

Besides keeping you and your family warm, your home will also need to battle the outdoor elements. It’s essential to check each surface of your home’s exterior, including pathways. Search for cracks that could extend through the patio or balcony to your house. Clean and seal these cracks with a concrete sealer.

Also, check on exteriors made from wood, like window and door frames. They can quickly rot due to exposure to varying weather conditions. Since rot and other signs of spoiling can be hard to detect, it pays to hire an expert who can easily spot exterior issues. Once identified, you can treat them immediately. For features made of rot-resistant wood, pouring water over them can check if they retain their anti-rotting properties. If they absorb the water, immediately clean and seal the surface.

3. Inspect Your Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

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House fires often occur during winter. Checking and properly maintaining your furnace, chimney, and heating system is just the start. You should additionally check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They should work properly and have fresh batteries.

An HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) inspector can inspect your furnace, water heater, and other systems that might cause fire or carbon monoxide poisoning at home.

4. Check Your Drainage, Gutters, And Any Nooks And Crannies That Can Collect Water.

Water can cause extensive damage, especially when trapped. Ensure that your home’s drainage and gutters aren’t blocked, and consider adding extenders to keep water flowing away from your home. If you find areas that could collect water, fill them with non-porous material to keep the water out. If your region’s weather regularly dips below freezing, check for holes that could be air leaks, potentially leading to icicles or ice dams.

You may also want to pay attention to your home’s foundation: standing water can cause damage to your home’s foundation as the water in it freezes, subsequently thawing out throughout the winter months. If the area surrounding your home has some low spots, fill them with soil.

5. If You Have A Chimney, Have It Inspected And Cleaned.

A chimney cleaning company is helpful for this type of maintenance. They make sure your chimney gets a good sweep and can point out potential issues to be aware of, so you can fix them before you make regular use of your fireplace.

Always check to make sure you aren’t using rotten firewood. Firewood should be placed in a safe place outside, away from your home and other elements that could damage it — like water or bugs.

6. While Checking The Chimney, Check Also Your Roof.

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The roof can be your home’s first defense against the elements. Check your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that could lead to leaks indoors. Give your roof a good cleaning and remove any leaves, branches, and other debris that could further damage it. A good contractor will help you clean your roof without damaging the structure.

7. Turn Off All Outside Faucets And The Sprinkler System.

If possible, have all lines outside be blown out by a professional. Outside faucets or sprinkler systems can freeze during the cold season, later causing leaks or even split water lines inside the house. A sprinkler system that hasn’t been blown out before winter can result in broken water lines in spring.

8. Do You Have A Pool? Empty It.

You can save hundreds of dollars in repairs by draining your pool in winter. Keeping the water tank full during the cold season can break your whole pool system. Hire someone who can drain the water, shut down the system, and offer more pool maintenance tips.

9. Prepare All Your Gear For Snow Removal.

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If you have to make a trip to the hardware store to buy equipment like a snowblower, do it now — not when you’re knee-deep in snow. If you have existing snow removal equipment, inspect it and ensure it’s working before the snow arrives.

Outside furniture and other landscaping features should be covered for their protection. Once winter is over, the covers can be easily removed.

10. If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing, Hire A Professional.

While you may think you can DIY, hiring a professional is the best way to ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps when preparing your home for winter. Professional maintenance can save you time and money as you avoid improper preparation — and the resulting damage. An annual maintenance agreement with a contractor can save you even more.

Begin preparing your home for winter today. Keeping moisture out, keeping the heat in, and protecting your home’s various systems are the first steps to avoiding potential home maintenance disasters — and ensuring you enjoy a truly cozy winter at home.

Search here for professionals who can help prepare your home for winter now.

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