Love it or hate it, it’s already time to begin thinking about home preparations for winter. While the winter season can be unpredictable at best, there’s one thing for certain: you need to take precautions in the fall to avoid costly damage and repair to your home in spring.
If you’re not sure what you need to do, that’s okay. We’ve collected 9 important but (mostly) easy ways to get your house and yard ready for snow, ice, and plunging temperatures.
Follow the professional instructions you received on your outdoor amenities, like sprinkler systems, pools, and hot tubs. Learn how to drain and correctly winterize them so you won’t have to worry about ruined pipes and expensive repairs come the spring thaw.
Cleaning the gutters isn’t exactly glamorous, but it needs to be done before the winter sets in. Do it yourself or hire someone. Make sure you keep an eye out for gutters and spouting that might need repairs before snow and ice damage them more.
Do a sweep of your yard and porch. Are there outdoor items that frigid temperatures could ruin? Bring them inside to keep them safe and usable for next summer.
This tip is insanely easy—and can save you money and keep you warmer, too. Make sure that you reverse the ceiling fans in your home (especially for rooms with high ceilings). Fans that run in reverse will push warm air that becomes trapped at the ceiling down to the floor again and will make you a degree or two toastier.
Turn off the inside supply valves for your outdoor taps. Then, open the outdoor taps to allow water to drain and any residual water to expand safely without breaking pipes or fixtures.
Check for Insulation
Especially if this is your first winter in your home, you’ll want to do a thorough inventory of any pipes that are exposed and not insulated. (Don’t forget to check your hot water and cold water pipes.) If you find pipes that are exposed (which can increase their chance of freezing and splitting), there are different precautions you can take. Most exposed pipes can be insulated with pipe sleeves, heat tapes, or heat cables. If you’re not sure of the best option for you, consult a plumber.
It sounds simple enough, but make sure that your garage doors close tightly. Keeping them closed can conserve heat and help to keep any exposed pipes in the garage nice and toasty warm.
Make sure that your heating system is in tip-top shape for a cold winter by getting a tune-up. In most areas, a tune-up costs between $80-100 and will save you from costly repairs (and chilly indoor temperatures) if your system dies halfway through the winter.
As you get your home ready for the winter, make sure that you check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. The winter means closed windows, so you’ll want to ensure that if problems arise, you’ll be notified immediately.
And don’t forget to take stock of what you have in your garage. Do you have enough salt and deicer? What about a snow shovel that isn’t bent and broken from last year’s snowpocalypse? Are there other supplies you need in case of a weather emergency? Having a stockpile and making sure that tools are in working order will help you take care of your home and your family during a snowy, icy winter.