Even though we have had some unseasonably warm weather this year, winter is coming, eventually. In our area, winter doesn’t necessarily mean snow, but we will see cold with potential snow and possible ice. Because of this, there are a lot of people who usually wait until news hits that snow is coming before they take action. Then, it is a mad dash to grab supplies. You may be able to find some things, but it is always a gamble. Preparing yourself and home before the possibility of winter weather just makes your life much easier.
There are several things you can do to prep for winter weather and the first snow of the year. Hopefully, you used the Fall to perform routine maintenance on your home and now you only have a few things to wrap up before the white blanket settles in.
The first thing to consider is the list of supplies you will need to combat and/or enjoy the snow. A snow shovel or snow blower is probably one of the most useful tools needed. Buy these early because they are hard to find once the snow is here. Also, grab some salt if you need to clear asphalt and ice melt if you want to clear concrete. Salt can damage concrete so make sure you use the correct product. Finally, if you want to enjoy the snow, have your fun supplies like sleds and warm clothing ready to go. Again, all these items are hard to find last minute.
When clearing away snow, make sure your piles are located in areas that still allow for proper drainage. You do not want them near your home as you want the water to move away and not towards your house. Do not pile snow on top of downspout discharges either. You want these to be open and able to easily clear the water. Also remember that as the snow melts and refreezes, usually at night, this will cause slipping hazards. It would be a good idea to check that all your outside railings are secure.
For your home, make sure all your outside hoses are disconnected and spigots are drained. This will help eliminate the threat of frozen pipes. Do a final check on your gutters. Just make sure any debris is removed so that melting snow drains properly. Any outside firewood should be stored at least 20 feet away from your foundation. This will help keep bugs, termites, and other pests out of your home.
Many people think about preparing for snow on the outside, yet some neglect the inside of their homes. Again, hopefully, fall maintenance helped prepare your home. However, there are still a few things to consider when making sure your home is ready for the cold.
Heating your home becomes vitally important during this time of year. Most likely, you have already had your heating system checked, but you can still have it serviced if you have not. This will make sure your filter is clean and there are not any condensation or exhaust issues. It will also verify that you do not have any critters taking up residence either. If you have a working fireplace, it is recommended to have it checked annually. There is still time to have it cleaned and/or inspected. The chimney scope will show you a 360-degree view of the inside of your chimney. This can locate any cracks in your flue, creosote buildup, and/or critters.
Many people may not think about this, but curtain or window coverings play a significant role in combating the cold in your home. Rugs on hard surfaces help cut down on this too. Check your doors, windows, outlets, and light switches for cold spots. These are the most common places for drafts. If you can see daylight or feel cold around your doors and windows, you can add weather stripping to properly seal these areas. Expandable foam can be used around the light switches and outlets to help eliminate cold drafts as well. You can also buy covers with built-in weather stripping for a quick and easy fix. It is also a great time to double-check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When running heating elements in your home, it is smart to have safety features working properly.
When you prepare for the winter months outside and inside your home, you create a much more energy-efficient and comfortable home. On the outside, get your supplies early, clear the snow properly, and set up effective drainage. On the inside, check your home’s heating elements, eliminate cold spots, and check your safety detectors. Doing all this helps you and your home be prepared for the cold, snow, and/or ice.