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    How to keep your home winter ready

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    Winter is around the corner, and there are a bunch of tasks to complete before your home is ready for the cold. These chores might seem troublesome, but they’re essential to keeping your home in good shape.

    This post reviews some of the essential tasks to prepare your home for the winter cold and snow.

    Check windows and doors for leaks

    Keeping your home warm during the winter months is about more than blasting the heat. You should also consider whether the winter air is getting in. Homes with old doors and windows might leak in outside temperatures, forcing your heating system to work overtime.

    If your doors and windows are old, you might consider replacing them. New windows and doors are an excellent investment. They reduce the chance of air leaks and provide insulation technology that makes heating your home more efficient.

    Another alternative is window insulation kits. These kits provide plastic covers to seal your windows and prevent drafts from getting inside. They’re also much more cost-efficient than replacing your windows and doors, usually costing less than $100!

    You should lastly check that the weather-stripping around windows and door frames is in good order. If not, it may be time to replace these parts.

    Clean up your HVAC, furnace, and chimney 

    Before you start cranking up the heat, you need to ensure your home’s heating system is ready. Having these systems serviced by HVAC and furnace professionals ensures your home’s heating runs at maximum efficiency. A clean HVAC system also means that the air circulating through your home is more hygienic, creating a healthier environment for the whole household.

    So, book an appointment with a professional – they’ll come to inspect and perform maintenance on your heating system. They might clean ducts, replace filters, and repair your HVAC, if necessary. By doing these essential tasks, they help extend the life of your system, reducing the risk of costly repairs or replacements down the line.

    A fireplace can be a more economical alternative to central heating. All you need is some firewood to warm your home. But if you plan to use a fireplace, make sure your chimney is in good order. Having it swept prevents chimney fires and carbon monoxide issues.

    Drain your sprinklers, outdoor faucets, and gutters

    While the summer months involve a lot of sprinkler and hose action to maintain your pristine lawn, it’s essential to check this system in the autumn and ensure they’re drained. Any water left in your outdoor faucet or sprinkler system can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, which can lead to burst pipes. Even a minor pipe burst can cause significant damage, and you don’t want to deal with these issues in the dead of winter.

    While you can manage the outdoor faucets yourself, your sprinkler system may require a professional to have it blown out. It’s well worth the cost, as replacing your sprinkler system is significantly more expensive.

    Once all the leaves have fallen, check your gutters as well. It’s vital to leave your gutters leaf and debris free. Clogged gutters prevent rain and melting snow from draining properly. This water might enter your house instead. It could also drip onto walkways and create icy messes that could lead to injuries.

    Inspect trees and plants

    Branches can break off and cause significant damage to your home during a snowstorm. So, trimming bushes and trees reduces the risk of branches falling onto your roof or damaging other parts of your property. Look especially for dead branches that may more easily come off or branches that have already suffered some damage.

    Adding a layer of mulch to your flowerbeds regulates soil temperatures during cold months. Mulch acts as insulation and safeguards your plants from the winter cold. Without proper mulching, the snow and ice may damage plant roots and cause flower beds to die during the winter.

    Review your home or tenants’ insurance

    As mentioned, winter can lead to icy walkways and damage to your home. If someone slips on your property, they could have the right to sue you for their bodily injury or property damage. This would result in legal fees and a potential damage award. Further, a branch that crashes through a window could require expensive repair costs.

    The proper home or tenants’ insurance can mitigate these expensive risks. The right insurance plan covers lawsuits due to bodily injury or property damage related to your home. It can also pay for repair costs affiliated with winter damage.

    The colder temperatures are a reminder to get your home winter-ready. Without proper preparation, it could mean extra heating costs, icy walkways that could lead to injury, or damage to your home. It’s also vital to review your insurance in case any of these unfortunate circumstances arise.

    Originally published November 24, 2021, updated August 25, 2023

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