10 step guide to preparing your home for Winter.

It’s that time of the year again! Take advantage of the Fall weather and knock out these 10 steps before the snow comes. A little maintenance goes a long way, and it isn’t very difficult.

1) Add caulking around doors and windows: Caulking is inexpensive, easy to install and very important for weatherproofing your home. Find the gaps and cracks on the interior and exterior and seal them up.

2) Replace worn weatherstripping around door jams: Weatherstripping is the rubber or foam strip that helps seal your doors. Over time, they wear out and let the conditioned air escape to the outdoors. Check the entire area around the door. If you can see daylight around the perimeter of a door when it is shut, you’re losing energy.

3) Drain irrigation systems: Water left sitting in the irrigation system can freeze and cause major damage. Hire a pro to blow out the system with compressed air and turn off the entire system until spring.

4) Disconnect hoses: Turn off your exterior water taps, drain the hoses and store them inside or in a garden box.

5) Check your downspouts: Accumulated snow on your roof will eventually melt, sending hundreds of gallons of water down the gutter system. Make sure it gets diverted away from your house with downspouts and extensions. Check the regularly for ice build-up and other clogs.

6) Have the chimney inspected: Even if you do not use your fireplace as a primary heating source, you should have the chimney inspected and cleaned every year. If there is a problem with your furnace, you will need heat until it is fixed.

7) Have your furnace serviced: It goes without saying, your furnace is incredibly important during the winter. An annual service by a professional will help keep it running smoothly and efficiently.

8) Store your mower: Gasoline engines need to be properly maintained and prepped for storage. Check the manufacturers recommendations regarding long term storage of the engine. You may need to drain fluids and use fuel additives. If your mower takes batteries, charge them up and store them indoors. They will last much longer.

9) Insulate water lines: If you have water lines running inside of an exterior wall, consider adding insulation to them. Check your basement, crawlspaces and garages as well. Freezing weather can wreck havoc on the water inside these lines. If you find a frozen pipe during the winter, call a professional plumber immediately. Attempting to thaw out a plumbing pipe can cause it to burst. Call a pro!

10) Service the water heater: Water heaters need maintenance as well, and they will inevitably be working harder in colder temperatures. Now is a great time to have a professional drain the tank and service the entire unit.

There are plenty of other steps you can take to prepare for the Winter months, but these are some of the most important ones. Most of these can be completed by yourself and a professional in just a couple days. If you want more information about your home and help deciding what needs to be done, consider an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection by a Certified Professional Inspector.

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