As winter quickly approaches it is time once again for most of America to prepare their homes for the coming bitter cold. This is more than an annual tradition, or something fun to do when you could instead be inside watching your favorite show or reading a great book. This is a task that could save thousands of dollars by preventing the damage that can be done to your home by the cold if not properly prepared for.
Keep water away
The first thing to understand when it comes to winter is that water is not your friend. By moving water away from your home and preventing its build up you will avoid most issues. In order to do this, make sure that your gutters and down spouts are all cleaned out and able to handle water passing through them. If water pools in these and freezes damage can be done. Remember, water that still may be able to seep through when the weather is warm may pool when that clog freezes and stops all water from passing through. This excess water can ruin your roof, your soffits or your siding. It can also seep into the house and damage the interior.
Another way to make sure water stays out is to walk the exterior of your property and apply caulking to seal all cracks in the foundation, seal any areas around water pipes, wires or vents. These small cracks can allow trace amounts of water in and when that water freezes the crack will expand in size. You will also be thankful you did this when spring comes around and ant season begins.
At this time it also makes sense to disconnect all hoses from your home and cover the spouts. A connected hose can cause damage when the water within freezes.
Get the trees ready
Of course we all know that ice on tree branches is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately many of us forget about this fact until the winter storm is upon us and we are already too late. In these last few weeks before winter be sure to trim any dead branches from your trees and remove any low hanging branches over your roof, your cars, or your sheds. When these break thousands of dollars of damage can be done. Even if they do not break though, a severely bent branch can do damage by rubbing on your roof and tearing shingles off.
Be sure to take extra precautions when working with tree branches. A falling branch can be deadly, and the results far worse than a hole in the roof. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself hire a professional. The cost will be well worth it in the long run.
Make sure that your handrails and stairs are ready for slippery weather. Tighten all bolts and make any needed repairs. You will be thankful you did this when you hit that first icy step and the handrail holds solid for you when you grab to save yourself from a fall.
- Make sure to check all pipes to insure they are properly insulated.
- Have your heater serviced so it is ready for those cold days.
- Ensure smoke and fire alarms have batteries and are in working order.
- If you have a chimney check to see if it is either properly sealed or in working order.
Be prepared for fun
By following these few simple steps thousands of dollars in damages can be prevented and much of the worry about the bitter winter weather can be avoided. Instead one can focus on enjoying this wonderful time of the year.
Jacob is a native of Kansas City where he enjoys a true winter every year. He believes that if approached correctly winter can be the best time of year. Read more from Jacob Willard;
Fun things to do while snowed in
How to be ready for tornado season.
An open letter to fathers with young boys