Winter Home Preparation
Winter Home Preparation
As winter approaches, rain, snow, ice, sudden storms, and severe temperatures are on the way in many parts of the U.S. It's time to make sure your home is ready for intense weather by conducting inspections, making repairs, and setting up some winter pre-prep. Here are some important steps to take in the coming weeks:
Protect your irrigation system: Your sprinkler system and hoses should be cleared, shut down, and insulated before the first freeze of the season. Turn off the main water supply and either power off your control system or turn it to "rain mode" (the latter is best if you don't want to have to reprogram the entire system in springtime). If you own an air compressor, there are many resources and videos available that can teach you how to blow out a sprinkler system yourself; however, most experts recommend that you hire a professional to do the job right. Finally, insulate above-ground components with insulation tape and plastic to prevent damage.
Clean gutters to prevent ice dams: Your gutter system will be a lifesaver in the winter but only if you take the time to make sure it's functioning properly before weather changes. Make sure your gutters are well-cleaned and free of damage, and that they're securely attached in all the right places. You should also be sure that downspouts are correctly installed so that water is flowing away from the house, and not pooling directly below.
Clear driveways and sidewalks: Snow and ice removal will be much easier if you're working with a clutter-free foundation. Remove any rocks, debris, branches, summer equipment or furniture that might prevent you from having a safe, clear path.
Maintain your yard: Spend some time pruning dead branches from trees, raking up leaves and removing other trash, debris or dead plant matter from your yard. This will keep your lawn and plants healthy, as well as prevent accidents that might be caused by broken branches or unkempt plants.
Inspect your roof: Nobody wants to pay for roof repairs; but if they're truly necessary, it's going to be much easier to take care of them while the weather is still relatively mild. Inspect your roof for general damage, pests, tree branches and other debris. Be sure that the sealing is not cracked or damaged. Finally, be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected, so you can use that fireplace right away on that first chilly night of the year.
Prepare winter tools: Get your snowblower serviced and/or pull out the shovels, salt, ice scrapers, and other winter maintenance tools before you need them.
Plan for emergencies: Nobody likes to think they're going to need emergency or survival supplies, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be ready, just in case. Even if you're not likely to experience a serious emergency, it's not unreasonable that the power could go out or that a severe storm could keep you inside for one or more days. Make sure you have enough food, water, medicine and other supplies to sustain your family for three days.
Ready your generator: What's the point in having a generator if it's not ready when you really need it? Test your generator before the winter season, and be sure it's running properly. In addition, check the fuel, oil, air filter, and inspect your generator for general damage or problems.