Home Maintenance: Preparing the Home for the Cold Months

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Even though winter is still a couple of months away, homeowners can start preparing for it. Preparing early allows them to ensure their home is ready for the cold season. This is particularly true in areas that experience harsh weather when winter comes. It allows homeowners to avoid surprises when winter finally arrives.

Here are the things you should do to prepare for the coming winter.

Inspect the Roof

The first thing you should check is the roof. You should check if there are any leaks before the snow started to fall. You can either use a ladder to go up to the roof or use a good pair of binoculars. Look for missing or cracked shingles, rust spots on the flashing, and cracked rubber on the vent pipes. The presence of large masses of lichen and moss may indicate issues under the roof.

While you can work on simple roof repairs, you may need to hire professionals to check and fix the roof for you. These professionals have the skills and equipment to work on any issues you have on the roof.

Clean the Downspouts and Gutters

Cleaning the downspouts ad gutter is also important to prevent the formation of ice dams. Ice dams can lead to serious damage to the house later on. You should make sure to remove any leaves, twigs, and other debris that can trap water. Trapped water will freeze when winter comes and cause the gutter to sag or damage the downspout.

The icy mass in the gutter can damage the roof when they go under the shingles. So, you need to use a tall ladder and scoop out any debris. This allows the water to drain. But always remember to prioritize safety, so you may need someone to hold the ladder to prevent it from moving while you clean the gutter.

Inspect the Tree Branches

When harsh weather hits during winter, you would not want to have tree branches swaying close to the windows. So, you should inspect any trees close to the house and make sure they do not pose any danger to your home. They should be at least three feet away, so the risk of damage will decrease.

Tree branches touching the house also give rodents and pests away into the house. They can climb the trees and make their way into the house through the roof. Dead tree limbs may also break and damage your home.

Check the Furnace

Before winter starts, you should hire a professional to inspect the house’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) system. They should make sure that the boiler or furnace has no issues and is operating properly.

If it’s necessary, you should consider having the furnace replaced before winter comes. This allows you to ensure the home is warm and cozy before the first snowflake touches the ground. These professionals have the equipment to check the whole system to see if they need to fix anything. You should also make sure to check the filter every month. Replace any filter that turns black since it will not work as efficiently as a clean filter.

Insulate the Pipes

You should also check if the house has any pipes in the basement or other exposed areas. You should insulate these exposed pipes to prevent the water flowing through them from freezing. When water freezes, it expands and can cause the pipe to burst in the future. You can use foam pipe sleeves or strips of pipe wrap. Allowing the faucet to drip can also relieve the pressure in the system.


Clean the Fireplace

You should conduct a visual inspection of the fireplace to see if it is in good condition. You should make sure there are no tree limbs close to the chimney and that the chimney cap is in good condition. Make sure there are no bird nests on the chimney cap.

The bricks on the chimney should also be in good condition and are not crumbling. The chimney crown should also facilitate airflow. You should also see the flue liner above the crown. Check if the flue damper can open or close properly. You should check for foreign objects or combustible materials in the flue.

If you have a gas fireplace, you should check any cracks on the glass doors. Ensure that the gas logs are positioned properly and test the igniter after turning off the gas using its shut-off valve. You should hire a professional to clean and repair the chimney long before winter starts.

Preparing the home for winter is necessary long before the start of the cold season. This way, you can avoid damage and losses even before the temperature drops.

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