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8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Harsh Winter Weather

The temperatures begin to drop, the leaves start to change, and we all know the seasons are changing. While this means the end of summer BBQs and warm sunshine, it also means the beginning of the holiday season and cozying up to the fire. This, of course, means it’s time to pull out your sweaters and change your sheets to a warmer set, but it also means you should be preparing your home for winter as well.

Winters are harsh on houses, and there are many ways you can prepare to avoid damage from deep snow, fridge temperatures, and icy conditions. It’s best to start these now before the weather get’s too bad, and it might be too late for some.

Heating Systems Checked

All summer, we’ve been relying on our AC to get us through those scorching days, but soon you’ll be wondering how your heating system has been while it’s been dormant. Before those chilly nights get too intense, it’s best to have a professional come out and inspect your system. They’ll be able to run tests to ensure that your heater is up and ready to go, and you won’t have any surprises that could lead to damage.

You’ll also want to be sure the filters in your heating system are new. Not only will this ensure the air that’s circulating in your home is clean, but it’s also healthier for your system. A clogged filter causes your system to work harder than it needs to and can wear it down or maybe even cause a fire. So change out those filters and set a reminder to do it again in three months.

Lastly, heat rises, so while in the summer your ceiling fans were pulling the warm are up and pushing the cooler air down, now you’ll want to reverse your fans. This means they will be pushing the warm air down instead of just sitting up in the ceiling where you can’t enjoy it.

Clean the Gutters

We might hang lights on our homes that resemble ice dripping from the gutters, but in reality, we do not want that happening. Ice can damage and even ruin gutter systems if it hangs onto them. To reduce this risk, be sure your gutters are clean and clear before those heavy snows hit. This will allow the snow and ice to melt efficiently and are less likely to hang off the side and cause damage.

Chimney Maintenance

If you happen to have a fireplace and chimney in your home, there are a few things you’ll want to do before the colder weather sets in. First, you’ll want to call a chimney professional to come clean and inspect your chimney. They will see any repairs that need to be done and ensure it’s in good shape for a lot of use during those cold winter months.

In addition to a chimney inspection, you’ll want to restack your woodpile closer to the house, so it isn’t too far away. The last thing you’ll want to do on a cold morning is trek through your yard to the woodpile and carry it back. Instead, find a place close to the door where you can easily come in and out with more firewood. You might even want to find a place that’s covered to protect your wood from frost, snow, and ice.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Check

Sometimes life happens, and when the batteries to the smoke detector ran out and produced an annoying beep in the middle of the night, you might have just turned it off and promised to get to it later. If you forgot, here is your reminder. Check and change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure you and your family are safe.

Drain and Shut Down Outdoor Water Systems

One of the worst things to deal with during the winter season is a burst pipe. What usually happens is a hose get’s forgotten on an outdoor faucet, and then the temperature drops one night and causes the pipe to explode. This usually leads to damaging ice build-up outside and

devastating water damage inside. To avoid these disasters, winterize your outdoor water systems early in the season. This means winterizing your pool, draining hoses and detaching them from the house, and draining sprinkler systems.

Protect Patio Furniture

While most patio furniture and cushions can withstand some rain, they often break down quickly when left out during the winter. So remember to store your patio cushions and cover your outdoor furniture to protect it from the harsh winter weather.

Clean, Maintenance, and Store Lawn Equipment

Soon you’ll be cutting your grass for the last time, and now is the perfect time to prepare your lawnmower and other lawn tools for winter. Now that you won’t be using it, it’s a great time to send your mower to the shop for any maintenance you might have been putting off. For example, maybe the blades need sharpening, the oil changed, or you need to replace a part that broke this summer. Then you can spend an afternoon giving it a good cleaning and storing it in the back of the shed along with your other summer lawn tools.

Pull Out and Prep Snow Tools

As you shift your summer tools to the back of the shed, move your snow shovels, snowblowers, and ice melts forward for easy access. The last thing you’ll want to do on a cold winter morning is climb, dig, and search for your shovel. Instead, spend some time reorganizing the shed so everything you need for snow and ice management is right up front and easy to grab.

Although colder weather means no more days by the pool, it also means cozy nights by the fire and comforting spiced baked goods. To avoid anything disrupting these quiet winter moments, be sure to winterize your outdoor water systems, have your heating system inspected, have your snow and ice tools at the ready, and clean those gutters!