With the weather in many parts of the country cooling down and sliding us into fall, it's getting to be time to think about ways to prepare your home for upcoming winter weather. While it is far too early in most places to be worried about the winter weather, it's not too early to get a head start on being prepared.
Probably the biggest job—with the potential to take the longest time—in preparing for winter is household repairs. You need to ensure that your roof has no leaks, your siding is firmly attached to the house, and that the gutters are properly attached and functioning properly. Take some time to check the weather stripping around any windows and outside doors and replace it if it doesn't seal well, keeping cold air and driving rain outside where it belongs. If needed in your area, install storm windows for the wet season; it's also a good idea to seal the concrete in your basement with a sealer to help keep moisture out. Any repair jobs that require you to hire construction or repair workers to accomplish will be done faster and possibly cheaper when done well before it is an urgent matter.
The next biggest step in your project will be any upgrades that will help you survive the winter with more comfort. One of the biggest ways you can do that is by adding an extra layer of insulation to your attic or crawl space. Unless your house is quite new, it may well have sub-ideal levels of insulation keeping the cold out and expensive heat in. If your hot water tank is older, you will want to add an insulating wrap to it as well, though don't bother if when you touch the tank it feels room temperature. New hot water tanks have a lot of insulation in them and a wrap will not add any benefit.
Next comes household maintenance, starting with your furnace. Have your furnace cleaned and inspected for ideal heating power. Likewise, your chimney should be cleaned and inspected to ward against chimney fires. Drain outdoor taps to prevent freezing and insulate any pipes that could freeze when the chilly weather hits. Clean your gutters so that any heavy rainfall or melting snow can be removed efficiently.
In your yard trim back branches and foliage from your house; this will keep them from falling on your roof in a storm or due to the heavy weight of snow. This also protects the plants and trees from breaking if you have a heavy snowfall.
Make sure that well in advance of the cold weather that you purchase as much salt and de-icer that you think that you will need for the winter as well as snow shovels. As soon as the snowy weather threatens, you can be sure that everyone will be running to the store to buy these items which makes them very hard to find then. Don't leave anything until the last minute and you will enjoy the winter much more!
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