With winter fast approaching, there are so many things to do to prepare for the holiday season. Many common preparations, if overlooked, can be dangerous for you and your home. If you are in denial that winter is coming, such as I am, here are some easy to remember tips that will ease you into the winter spirit for keeping your home safe and warm this winter.
For outside your home:
1. Inspect your roof
Climb up on that ladder and check out your roof! Look for any damaged shingles, weak spots, or possible leaks. If your roof is over 10 years old, any of these things could cause a problem for you during the winter. Heavy snows, melting snow, and freezing could cause a number of problems with your roof. If you have to do any repairs, I highly recommend you spend a little money now, to save a lot of money later.
See also: How to Prevent Ice Dams
2. While you’re up there—check out your gutters!
Clear out your gutters of leaves and debris. These items can get stuck in your gutters and cause major blockages, which could lead to roof and water damage. Check the gutters for any leaks that could lead to dangerous ice and icicle buildups. It is also recommended that you add extensions to your downspouts that lead away from the foundation. This could prevent any freezing of drainage water at your foundation, and therefore prevent further damage in the future.
3. Additional outdoor tips
- Mulch leaves into your lawn instead of raking them- this helps to nourish and maintain your fantastic-looking lawn even when it is covering by snow.
- Turn off all outside water faucets- this can help prevent freezing of these water sources, and could prevent bursting of pipes during those deep-freezes.
- Drain any lawn irrigation or sprinkler systems- this will save you the trouble of thawing out your sprinkler system in the spring!
For inside your home:
4. Reverse your ceiling fans
Don’t give me that look like I am nuts, this actually helps keep your house warmer! If you are looking up at the fan, during the winter it should be rotating clockwise. This way, the fan will push down heated air that has risen to the ceiling. This could also even allow you to turn down the thermostat a few degrees, which could save you some money!
5. Check all windows and doors for drafts
Keep the chills away and outside by sealing off any drafts in your windows and underneath doors. Any drafts you do find can be sealed off using caulk or storm windows on the windows, and draft stoppers at the bottom of doors. This could also save you money, as it should keep your house warmer as well!
6. Clean out your chimney
Before you make any fires this chilly holiday season, make sure that all of your chimney vents and passageways are clean and free of any blockages or soot buildup. This can help to prevent chimney fires and Carbon Monoxide leaks. (Speaking of Carbon Monoxide leaks; if you don’t already have one, invest in a Carbon Monoxide detector!)
Equipment maintenance—keeping you and your tools warm and operating:
7. Schedule a furnace inspection
Have a professional come and take a look at your furnace. Get the furnace cleaned and inspected to ensure that it will work properly throughout the winter. Stock up on furnace filters and replace the filter monthly. This will ensure maximum performance of your furnace through the coldest of winter days. Also, as a precaution, remove any flammable substances or fabrics away from the furnace, just in case!
8. Prepare with weather-specific equipment
At the end of your lawn-care days for the year, drain the gas tanks of lawn mowers, weed whackers, and other gardening or lawn equipment. This will prevent the freezing of the gas over the winter, which could lead to irreparable damage when the winter is over. Make sure to service or replace any snow removal equipment. This includes snow blowers, shovels, ice-melt, sand, and ice scrapers. This will ensure you are ready to take on the snow with a vengeance until the summer months return. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this, as these items seem to disappear out of any and all stores after the first snow storm of the year.
See also: How to Avoid Snow Blower Injuries & When Was Your Last Furnace Tune-Up
9. Check and change batteries in all smoke detectors
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths are a result of fires in homes with inoperable smoke alarms, or no smoke alarms are present. Be sure to change or check the batteries in your smoke detectors (you might as well check those Carbon Monoxide detectors I mentioned earlier, too!). Do this at least twice per year. I would recommend doing this now, while you are preparing for fall and winter, and again when doing your spring cleaning.
All of these tips can help you conquer the winter with no problems! So after this list is done, bundle up, keep warm, and wait out the winter until spring gets here!
About the author: Lauren is an R&R Insurance intern learning about the insurance industry through sales and service experiences.