by Rachel Gast
The cold winter is blowing in; is your home ready to combat the elements? Here are 5 tips on preparing your biggest investment—your home—for winter:
Ditch the Gutter Clutter
Your gutters are constantly pummeled by leaves and other uninvited foliage. Fall is the optimal time to get rid of it all. Any leaves or twigs are going to soak in water before freezing, adding extra weight before any ice starts to pile up. Make sure everything is properly fastened as well—nobody wants to wrestle with a fallen gutter in the snow.
Leak-Proof the Roof
While you’re up there with the gutters, give your roof a once over. Any missing, loose or broken shingles? Are there lingering leaves and pine needles to be swept away? It may be a good idea to have a trusted contractor come by, just to make sure your roof can handle the weight of a heavy snowfall, or to fix any leak-prone areas. Now that the roof’s all patched up, string up some holiday lights.
Once you’re safely off the roof and back on the ground, it’s a good time to round up all the garden hoses. Roll them up securely and place them somewhere away from the cold winds. Next, ensure your downspouts are draining a good distance away from your house to prevent basement flooding. Finally, drain all the water from outdoor spigots or sprinklers. If your faucets are on the older side, it wouldn’t hurt to wrap them up to keep out cold water.
Pack Up the Patio
Anything that can be hurt by the wet and cold turn of the weather needs to be securely put away, in a garage or storage area. Particularly everything you enjoyed on the patio during those warmer months—the grill, the furniture, and plants. Turn the grill on to burn off the food, and wash off any remaining bits—then use a cover or store it in a location where no snow or moisture can get to it. Dry off any wet deck furniture and set it somewhere out of the elements. Plants need to be brought inside, or their pots emptied and stored where the temperature won’t drastically drop.
It’s What’s Inside
When the weather finally turns from golden November sunshine to gray skies and snowfall, double check the winter-supplies: Make sure you have enough ice-melt to last the winter, a trusty shovel, and your power-outage emergency kit (blankets, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, canned goods, etc.). By the time it’s snowing, everyone else will have realized they need all these items and the store will be thoroughly picked over.
At the end of the day, you’ve secured your house and prepared for the upcoming cold. The only thing left to do is cozy up to friends and family in your toasty living room. Hopefully on that battery-run you picked up some hot chocolate, because it’s time to relax.