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Getting Your Home Ready for Winter
Fall is in the air, which means that winter is around the corner. Taking care of things now can ensure you are warm and dry when the cold weather hits. And it can also save you some money.
Check your roof. Snow and ice can be hard on your roof, so make sure it is ready for the test. Do a visual inspection, looking for any loose or missing shingles. You also can ask a roofer to check for you.
Clean your gutters. If your gutters are full of leaves, it is easier for water from rain or melting snow to back up under your shingles, causing problems with your roof. In addition, gutters that are not clear will not work properly when the spring comes.
Check your sidewalks and driveway. Freezing and thawing can cause or worsen cracks or heaving in your walkways or driveway. If you have any problems, it’s best to fix them before the snow flies.
Protect outside faucets and underground irrigation systems. You can turn off the water to outside faucets and then drain them. Follow the instructions for winterizing your irrigation system, or call in a professional.
Trim trees if needed. Winter winds can cause tree branches to scrape across your roof, causing damage. Limbs that are not healthy can blow down in a winter storm. And branches that hang above electrical lines can get heavy with ice and fall, causing you to lose power.
Get your fireplace or wood stove checked. Even if you don’t use it very often, you should have it checked annually at the start of the winter. Look for creosote buildup or bird nests in the chimney, and make sure your flue works properly. If you haven’t already done so, consider installing a chimney cap so that squirrels and other animals looking for warmth can’t get into your house that way.
Have a professional check your furnace to make sure it is in good working order. You don’t want to have it fail on the coldest night of the year. You also don’t want it to be sending deadly carbon monoxide into your house. And while you’re at it, make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace the batteries as needed.
Check for drafts. Stand in front of windows and doors to see if you feel a cold draft. If you do, you can install or replace weatherstripping. Also check the caulk around your windows and doorframes as well as around holes for things like cable and phone lines. Replace caulk as needed. That not only will keep your house warmer, but also it might keep mice and other pests from getting in.
Be ready for snow. Check your snowblower, make sure you have enough salt for sidewalks and driveways, and put everything where you can get to it easily.
Then settle back and enjoy the season.