While it’s a beautiful time of year, winter can sometimes spell trouble for many U.S. homeowners. Freezing temperatures, strong winds, and heavy snowfall can cause costly damage to homes. And if your home isn’t properly insulated, your energy bills may spike as well.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to protect your home from damage this winter so you can focus on fun parts of the season, like sledding, decorating your home, and sipping hot chocolate. Here is a list of some winterization tasks you should perform each year before the snow falls.
Insulate Your Pipes
When temperatures drop below freezing, the liquid inside your pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, and this can cause your pipes to burst. Dealing with the fallout from a burst pipe is not something you want to experience this winter, so insulate your pipes with plastic foam pipe wrap to lessen the chance of this happening to you. Don’t forget about your outdoor spigots as well!
Recaulk the Outsides of All Windows and Doors
Even the tiniest cracks around doors and windows can leak warm air and raise your energy bills considerably. Recaulking your windows and doors is easy and affordable, a small investment for a big reward. Be sure to only caulk the outside perimeter of the molding on your windows and doors using exterior silicone caulk, which is less susceptible to changes in temperature.
Install Weatherstripping and Door Sweeps
Weatherstripping is long pieces of foam or rubber that you apply around window and door frames to seal cracks and prevent heat from escaping. Similarly, door sweeps close the gap between your door and the floor to keep warm air in and cold air and moisture out.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters clogged with leaves and debris can flood during heavy rain or snowfall, damaging the roof and siding of your house. Clogged gutters can also freeze and break off the home after a heavy snow, which further damages your water drainage system. So clean your gutters out after the majority of the leaves on your property have fallen.
Get Your Roof and Chimney Inspected/Cleaned
Have a chimney sweep come and clean your chimney and fireplace before you begin burning fires for the season. The buildup of soot and ash is bad for your health and can cause a house fire if it gets too clogged. You should also hire an inspector to make sure your roof is solid and ready to receive a whole winter’s worth of snow.
Cut Back Tree Branches That Overhang Your Home
Tree branches can break under the weight of snow and ice, so cutting back the ones that pose the most danger to your home is a good idea. If you are unable to perform this service yourself, hire a professional to inspect your property and take care of any precariously placed branches.
Confirm Your Insurance Coverage
If you have done any home renovations over the summer that may have added value to your home, make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy reflects that. You should also confirm what type of damage exactly is covered under your homeowner’s insurance so you can make any changes if necessary and be informed about what’s ahead should you need to file a claim.