As the leaves begin to drop and the weather starts to change, it’s time to make sure that your home is ready for all that winter brings. We’ve put together some common maintenance tips to get your home ready for the winter months.
Disconnect Garden Hoses
It’s time to disconnect your garden hoses and store them away somewhere warm and dry for the season. If you leave it outside, water could freeze over the winter and it could damage or bust the hose.
Clear Your Flower Beds
Clearing your flower beds should happen in late fall/early winter after most of the leaves have fallen. Clear the leaves, cut back perennial bushes and deadhead your plants, and then add a layer of mulch to protect your perennials from the winter.
Clean Your Gutters
If you head into winter with summer and fall debris in your gutters, you could see roof damage come springtime. As debris clutters your gutters, when snow falls and melts, the water has nowhere to go and can back up on your roof which can cause damage to your roof. Before it gets too cold, grab a ladder and a bucket and clear out your gutters!
Check Your Pipes
Any pipes exposed to the cold should be well-insulated for the winter to keep them from freezing and busting. If your pipes aren’t insulated, you can use heat tape which is an electrical warming device that you can wrap around pipes, or anything prone to freezing. It is equipped with a thermostat so it will know to come on when the temperature drops below freezing. Heat tape is an affordable solution to pipes vulnerable to freezing. Another simple option if your exposed pipes are for an area that doesn’t get much use, you can simply disconnect the pipes for the season.
Change Air Filters
It’s a good practice to regularly check and change out the air filters in your home. The changing of the seasons is a good, consistent schedule to keep when changing your filters. They are fairly inexpensive, easy to change, and are essential to clean air flow in your home.
Bring Outdoor Plants Inside
If you have potted plants outside – especially ones that require humidity – it’s time to bring those inside! Place them in a sunny spot and keep them well hydrated throughout the winter. Often, annuals that are potted rather than planted can be kept alive much longer by bringing them indoors for the winter.
Remove Overhanging Branches
Now is the time to trim back your tree branches above and around your home. As temperatures drop, limbs will freeze and potentially break off which can damage anything underneath it — including your home! Call your local limb removal specialist if you need any assistance.
The winter season is the perfect time to curl up next to a fire. But before you light it up, let’s do a little prep work. It’s important to check that the chimney is free from debris and any quests that decided to make it their home over the summer. Also make sure that your damper is functioning properly – on a wood fireplace, the damper is the door that stops air flow when in use. If you intend to use your fireplace for the first time, it’s often a good idea to have it checked out by a professional.
Check Your Windows
Inspect all the caulking around the exterior windows, doors, and any vents. Look for cracks in the caulking or areas where the caulking has shrunken or otherwise pulled away from the structure. If the old caulking is brittle or not flexible, you may need to remove it and apply new.
Power outages are never fun — but power outages in the winter can be especially dangerous. Not only do YOU get cold, but your house can get cold which can mean some hazards and potential damage. If you have a generator, now is the time to make sure that it works properly and have extra gas on hand. If you don’t have a generator, now might be the perfect time to look into getting one for your home.
Create Shelters for Any Outdoor Pets/Livestock
If you own any pets or livestock that live outside, make sure that you have plenty of food and adequate shelter. As the temperatures drop, check on your animals more often to make sure that food and water is not frozen. Some animals, like chickens, need heat lamps to keep them warm. Do research on what your animals need for the winter.
In Case of Emergency
Along with having a functioning generator, it’s also a good time to put together an emergency kit in case your power goes out or there are any emergencies this winter. Include things like a radio, battery operated flashlights (with extra batteries!), bottled water, non-perishable foods, matches, first aid kit, blankets, and extra clothing. Having an emergency kit is never a bad idea, but could be especially helpful during the cold winter months.
Change Smoke Detector Batteries
This is something that often goes forgotten, but is crucial to the safety of your home! It’s important to change your smoke detector batteries a few times a year, and daylight savings time is a good schedule for that. As we prepare to set our clocks back this fall, set a reminder to swap out your batteries so your home and family are protected.
Give a quick walk or crawl-through of your attic and basement spaces to check for leaks or cracks. Water stains on the underside of the roof deck can show you where a minor leak has been occuring which may require a simple roofing repair. While this is an easy fix during nice weather, it can be quite unpleasant in cold, snowy conditions.
When the seasons start to change, it’s time to do a little inventory on your home and make sure that it is ready for winter. A good rule of thumb – any home project that you wouldn’t want to do while it’s cold – do it now! Your home keeps you safe from the elements – make sure you’re keeping it safe as well.
Still looking for the perfect home for you, or planning to look after the winter? Contact us today to learn more about available listings or finding your dream home.