With the temperatures dropping and the season changing, you not only have to adjust your wardrobe and protect your skin from the elements, you should take some time to winterize your home. From water damage and leaks to the accumulation of leaves in the gutters and stains on the cement, our homes take a lot of abuse throughout the year. If you don’t address these problems as they come up, they can result in safety issues and costly repairs. Take some time to tackle these home maintenance chores to prepare for the winter.
1. Attend to the gutters.
Even though we don’t get too much snow in the South, we don’t want to wait until the first flakes fall before we break out the ladder to clean the gutters. Since ladder safety is extremely important, using a ladder on a wet or possibly icy surface is not recommended and is very dangerous. Take the time now to rid your gutters of leaves, acorns, and other debris that may have accumulated in them during the fall months. If you fail to clean your gutters, it can cause leaks, rotted wood, foundation cracks, and insect infestation, potentially costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.
2. Remove dead tree limbs and trees.
Most homeowners fail to remove dead tree branches before the winter sets in, mainly because they don’t recognize the danger. Cut down any dead limbs or trees that could fall on your home or cars. If left alone, the weight of snow or heavy winds could cause the limbs or trees to damage the roof, siding, gutters, railings, and decks, not to mention harm unsuspecting passersby.
3. Prevent plumbing freezes.
Even though we live in a warmer climate, our plumbing is still vulnerable to the cycles of freezing and thawing that can cause pipes to burst. To weatherproof your plumbing, shut off the water supply to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems, then drain them. Also, cover the outdoor components of your air conditioners to protect them and insulate any exposed plumbing pipes. If you go on vacation, be sure to leave the heat on at least 55 degrees to prevent freezing. Failing to protect your plumbing can result in water damage or the growth of mold.
4. Inspect windows and doors for energy efficiency.
If you have older windows, use caulking around them to prevent cold air from entering your home. If your budget allows, consider replacing your windows a little at a time. Use weatherstripping around your doors to seal the edges and lock out the cold. If you have storm windows, install them before the change of season. Window treatments or coverings can reduce heat loss in the winter as well. Pay attention to energy efficiency to avoid higher utility bills.
5. Powerwash the exterior of your home.
Give your home, deck, driveway, and other cement areas a good cleaning before it gets too cold. The leaves may have stained your driveway, debris has likely collected on your siding, and your deck could probably use a powerwash when you pack up the outdoor furniture. Seal your driveway, patio, and deck to protect them from the elements. Buildup during the fall and winter will only lead to more cleaning in the spring. Tackle the cleaning now and save yourself time and extra money later.
Home ownership is a big responsibility. Take the steps now to make this winter comfortable, safe, and healthy for everyone in your home. Make winterizing your home a priority as you go forward this holiday season.