The basic preparations for winter weather aren’t going to change much from one year to the next, but if you’re a new homeowner or you’ve recently moved to a region that experiences harsh winter weather conditions (that you’ve never dealt with before), then you may need a little help learning the ropes when it comes to making sure that the exterior of your home is fit to fight the wintry assault. With freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, hail, and perhaps even gale force winds bearing down on your home for months at a time, you want to feel safe in the knowledge that your structure is well-prepared to protect its inhabitants. So here are just a few tips that every homeowner should put on a checklist when it comes to making sure that the exterior of their house is ready for the long winter ahead.
- Roof inspection. A leaky roof could spell disaster during the winter months, when repair and replacement could be virtually impossible due to safety concerns. Of course you can patch up any holes until you’re able to fix them come spring, but you’re really better off ensuring that your roof is in ship shape before the harsh winds of winter come blowing in. So get up top for an inspection so that you can pinpoint shingles, flashing, or other components that might require repair before winter. Or if you don’t quite know what you’re looking for, hire a pro to do the job for you. And don’t forget to clear gutters and downspouts, which may become clogged with a pileup of leaves and other debris during the autumn. You don’t want water pooling around your foundations and freezing.
- Weather stripping. Thanks to the shrinking and swelling that wood can undergo when exterior temperature and humidity shift, you might find that over time you start to see gaps between exterior doors and their frames, especially when the weather turns cold and dry. For this reason you might want to install seasonal weather stripping to ensure that cold drafts don’t get in and that you’re not letting the bought air heat the outside.
- Windows and shutters. Windows are a major source of heat loss for homes during the winter, so you’ll definitely want to replace your summer screens with storm windows before the first snows start to fall. And if you happen to live in an area that experiences extreme storm activity, adding shutters is also a good idea.
- General cleaning and inspection. Long before winter weather strikes, you should take the time to do a good once over of your yard and the exterior of your home, raking up leaves, clearing out dead plants and trimming back any that require it, and taking a close look at window and door frames, siding, the foundation, the eaves, and anything that might need repair work before it gets too cold and wet to manage the tasks. Any issues apparent in the fall are bound to get worse over the winter, so you should definitely nip them in the bud.
- Home energy audit. In addition to staying warm throughout the winter, you might be interested in some energy savings tips, especially since utilities can skyrocket when the demand for heat in your home increases. When you hire a professional home energy auditor you’ll receive a comprehensive breakdown of areas where you could make changes and upgrades in order to seal up your home and reduce energy costs in the process.