To everything there is a season, including some all-important cold weather-readiness steps to keep our homes and families safe. Moving into fall is a great time to prepare and protect your house and property for the cold weather ahead. Maintaining your home through the months when the weather may be severe can help you prevent costly damage and insurance claims that could ultimately lead to higher premiums.
Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, or quick to call in handyman experts, follow this simple checklist to prep your house and property for cooler weather:
Sealing doors and windows
- Apply caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows. These items can generally be found at your hardware or home improvement store.
- Inspect storm doors and windows, checking for broken glass. If you need to replace glass panes, measure the opening and take a sample of the glass with you when you go to purchase a new pane.
Roof and gutters
- Think safety when working on gutters and roofs. Never climb a ladder alone, always have someone holding it at its base.
- Clean out leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts, and repair any leaking seams.
- Inspect and repair roof shingles and flashing to prevent water damage
Walls and foundation
- Seal cracks and leaks in foundation and walls. Sealant can usually be purchased at the hardware or home improvement store.
- Check attic or basement insulation for signs of moisture
- Trim back tree branches and brush
- Store firewood away from home to prevent infestations by termites and other insects
Heating and cooling
- Clean condenser coils and filters for window air conditioners and remove or cover units
- Have heating system inspected and cleaned
- Clean or change furnace filters monthly
- Move flammable materials away from furnace, hot water heater, and other heat sources
- Have chimney inspected and cleaned, and make sure damper operates properly
- Test pressure valve on hot water heater and look for leaks
- Insulate pipes in unheated spaces such as basements, garages, and attics
- Before the first freeze, disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain exterior plumbing
- Make sure everyone in the house knows how to shut off main water supply in an emergency
- Install a carbon monoxide detector or test one you already own
- Test smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
Porches and decks
- Make sure railings are secure and that steps are in good repair
- Clean, cover, and store outdoor furniture
- Have pool professionally serviced and winterized
- Store chemicals properly, following manufacturer’s instructions
- Install a pool safety cover to protect children and pets
- Make sure pool fence is in good repair and securely locked
Preparing your house for winter doesn’t take long and the benefits you reap will make it well worth your time and efforts.