Guest Post- Maintaining Your Home for Winter: Tips for Preparing for Cold Weather

Winter is my favorite time of year. Time for basketball, cozy pajamas, hot chocolate, and fires in the fireplace. It’s also the time for doing some cleaning and maintenance around your home to make sure it can withstand the cold weather. A little time spent now can save more time and money later by preventing small problems from becoming major issues.

There are several things you can do to winterize your home. Some are normal cleaning projects that prepare your home for maximum sun exposure and clean indoor air. Some are “catch it sooner rather than later” inspections for leaks and damage, while others are annual touch-ups that help keep potential damage away. All will go a long way toward keeping your home in tip-top shape for winter. So, here’s what you need to know.

Cleaning

Deep cleaning your home will help keep indoor air cleaner when windows and doors are shut tight. This is the time of year to have your carpets cleaned, as well as your chimney and furnace. You’ll want to vacuum upholstery; dust window sills, ceiling fans, blinds, and heating grates; and wipe down baseboards. Clean your drapes and window screens, and wash windows inside and out. Change the A/C and furnace filters and check fire extinguisher expiration dates. Finally, make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

Outside, you should clean or pressure wash your deck or patio, driveway, and sidewalk. Clean out your gutters and downspouts to keep water from backing up. Wash your grill and patio furniture before putting them in storage. While you’re washing the windows outside, check for leaks or openings that need to be caulked.

Inspections

The best way to inspect your home is to walk all the way around it, from top to bottom, looking for places where cold air or pests can come in. Check the roof shingles or have a professional do it. You’re looking for damaged or missing tiles. Check your siding or exterior surfaces for damage or wear and tear that requires repainting. Look for buckling or warping, as well as cracks that might let in bugs or rodents. Consider hiring an exterminator to seal cracks and crevices. Look closely over your deck for raised nails or boards that need replacement. Seal or paint the deck or patio, if necessary. Check your driveway and sidewalk for cracks that might need to be sealed. Walk around your yard and remove debris, and check the fencing for holes. 

Going inside, check your dryer vent for lint buildup and inspect appliance water hoses for leaks. In the attic, look for daylight that might indicate small holes in the roofing or loose fittings that could allow critters to get in. Have your HVAC unit inspected and serviced. See if the weather stripping on exterior doors needs to be replaced. Check vents and chimney piping for holes or areas that need caulking and check for mold in poorly ventilated areas. Look at the walls, ceilings, and floors for cracks that might need to be sealed or repaired. Again, catching small cracks now means easier repairs than fixing major damage later. 

Prevention

You can prevent damage from falling tree limbs by pruning back trees and dead foliage. You also want to prevent flooding by taking care of your water pipes. Remove, drain, and store outdoor hoses, and close inside valves supplying water to outside hose bibs and faucets. Open the outside hose bib to allow water to drain. Insulating exposed water pipes in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces will keep them from freezing. When temperatures drop, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so the pipes underneath can warm. Let cold water drip through the faucet in the sink furthest from the water supply line to your house. 

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to your home, a little bit of work now can save you major headaches and repair bills later. Check this list, look around your home, and then enjoy yourself knowing that you’re ready for whatever winter may bring.

Author: Clara Beaufort

Photo by Pixaby

 


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