Once that calendar flips over to November, you know what comes next: Those little white flakes falling from the sky that blanket your lawn in white. … It’s OK. You can say the word: Snow! Together with the lower temperatures, November is a reminder that you have to prepare your home for the winter.
It’s actually about more than just staying warm, however. Preparing your home for the winter also protects the structure of the house itself. If you don’t know what you need to do, here are the best ways to make sure you and your home are safe from the elements.
1. Seal the windows and doors.
If you feel a draft coming in through your windows or doors, weather stripping may help.
2. Insulate the attic and crawl space.
Insulating the attic and crawl space, if you have them, will keep cold air out and prevent structural damage to your house due to the accumulation of ice, snow, and puddles of water.
3. Caulk around the foundation of the house and fill gaps in the sidewalk.
If there are gaps between the house and sidewalk, or in the sidewalk or driveway itself, filling spaces will prevent further damage from water, such as after a rainfall. It’s especially true to the winter season because when water freezes, it expands, ultimately making gaps larger. Winterizing your property by sealing cracks will also be useful all year to keep out bugs, to prevent unwanted growth of weeds, and to keep damage to a minimum.
4. Clean and inspect your heating and cooling system.
Clean or replace your filters and start your heater early on in the season. If your system needs serious repair, you will probably want to have that done before the truly cold months come around.
Have a professional inspect your overall system as well to make sure there are no blockages and to ensure that it is running properly.
5. Start early to ensure you have the items you will need.
Ice scrapers for your windshield, road salt, and a shovel will be useless if you can’t get out of your house to use them. Invest in these items early on in the season, and purchase quality products. Your back will thank you for it.
6. Make sure your porch or deck is safe and solid.
A beautiful deck or porch can be a point of pride for homeowners, and it can be beneficial if you happen to be in the process of selling your property with the hope of moving into a new house. Winter precipitation, however, can be extremely harsh on outdoor decks, porches, and patios.
To protect your deck or other outdoor seating area, clean it thoroughly and then apply a water-repellant finish.
7. Check your garage.
Don’t forget about your garage as you are winterizing your property. Seal the windows and doors as needed, and fill in any cracks. You also will want to make sure the roof is solid and strong enough to hold the weight after a heavy snowfall.
8. Clean the gutters.
Cleaning your gutters will help to prevent clogging that can lead to a leaky roof. Having gutters professionally cleared in the fall is ideal so that you can remove leaves that may have fallen into them.
9. Clear out and put away your summer items.
If you haven’t done it yet, cover up your pool, put away your swing set, drain and pack away your water hoses, and put away any other summer items that are still out. Tucking these items away for the winter will protect them from becoming eroded, rusted, or brittle. It also will keep you and your visitors safe from the tripping hazards that arise as these items become hidden under mounds of snow.
Ask for Help
Not everyone has the remarkable DIY skills needed to accomplish all these tasks, so if you need help to prepare your home for the winter, be sure to ask for it. Ask a friend or family member or hire a contractor. Don’t attempt to make home repairs without the necessary knowledge and tools, as you could put yourself in harm’s way or damage your property.
Besides, if someone else can do it for you, why would you want to? Just sit back, stay warm, and enjoy the beauty of the fall and winter season while someone else does the work for you.