Winter weather can be unpredictable, and cold temperatures, high winds, ice and snow can cause serious damage to your home. To avoid costly weather-related repairs, it’s important to prep your home and property for winter. It’s the perfect time to winter-proof your home before the temperatures become frigid. Here are some tips to get you started:
Outside Your Home:
- Trim tree branches—Keep tree limbs at least 3 feet away from the house to prevent excess water from seeping into potential cracks on the roof or siding.
- Seal cracks—Take a walk around your home to look for any exterior cracks in caulk, paint, wood or concrete surfaces. It’s critical to protect the exterior from the elements and prevent water leaks and drafts into your home.
- Clean out the gutters—Clogged gutters or downspouts can damage the foundation or cause ice dams—which may require expensive repairs. Remove leaves, twigs and other debris from gutters to ensure they aren’t holding water.
Inside Your Home:
- Weatherproof windows and doors—Check your doors and windows for gaps, and seal them up with caulk, weatherstripping or thermal window treatments.
- Clean the dryer hose—According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. firefighters respond to more than 14,000 house fires caused by dryers each year. Remember to clean the lint filter, empty or replace the hose, and regularly check the vent for blockage.
- Inspect the fireplace—Clogged chimneys can also lead to house fires and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s important to schedule an annual fireplace inspection and professional chimney sweep.
- Check the HVAC system—Before the weather cools down, change the filters and schedule your annual HVAC system inspection and tune-up.
- Prevent freezing pipes—To help keep pipes at a constant temperature, ensure there is sufficient insulation and that heat can circulate in your home.
If you are going to be away for an extended period, turn the water of and/or have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting. Hire someone to check your home on a regular basis. This lessens damage if there is a problem and activity in your home will reduce the chances that your home will be burglarized.
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