October is a great time to prepare for winter before your pipes freeze and gutters clog. It’s often easier to complete tasks when it’s warm, considering Nebraskan weather cools quickly.
Protect your house against inclement weather before the temperature drops. Home remodeling and repairs can be expensive and tricky when the biting wind of winter sets in. Take a cue from this home maintenance checklist:
Check your Furnace and Chimney
HVAC professionals recommend that homeowners have their HVAC system inspected annually to prevent potential problems. Statistics reveal over 25,000 chimney fires annually, resulting in more than $125 million in property damage.
Clean your chimney once every year if you use your fireplace or wood-burning stove regularly during the fall/winter months; otherwise, once every three years is fine for most people. Cover your AC unit with a tarp to prevent debris from accumulating and protect against rain and snow.
Clean your gutter and downspouts
Fall leaves and spring debris can potentially harm your home’s infrastructure. Gutters and downspouts are integral parts of a house typically neglected by homeowners. When gutters are clogged, water pools and damages your roofing or siding. Clean your gutters and fix or replace them if they show wear and tear.
Fix exterior walls for cracks, then seal them up
Walk around your property and check for the roof, siding, and foundation damage. If you spot any problems, schedule repairs before the winter season. You can also use a caulking gun to seal cracks and leaks around windows and doors. Cracks can be repaired with a crack repair kit, but do not attempt this yourself unless you have experience doing so. Call in a professional if necessary.
Protect windows and doors from drafts
One of the most common ways to increase your home’s comfort and energy efficiency is by insulating your windows and doors. Drafty and leaky weather-stripping and gaps in glass seals may cause a draft to come in, which can lead to uncomfortable cold spots in your home. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 25-30 percent of heating energy use goes toward heat loss through windows. Cut down on your energy bills by installing storm doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering your home.
It’s also important to check both sides of all exterior walls for moisture damage during this time of year. Moisture problems often start with cracks between bricks or sills that allow water into walls. This can lead to mold growth inside walls if left unchecked over a long period, causing structural damage and respiratory issues.
Trim branches and foliage
Fall foliage is stunning and makes your home vibrant, but overhanging branches may damage your exterior. Trees may be weighted down by heavy snow and cause damage. Trim shrubbery and leaves that block the driveway and walkway. Also, drain all garden hoses and sprinklers and store them properly. For easy snow removal, mark the perimeter of your driveway and sidewalk.
Stock up on winter supplies
Stock up on winter staples such as snow shovel, plower, ice scraper, and emergency car kit in case a snow storm hits. Ensure you also have food and water stocks, flashlights, and batteries.
Preparing your home for winter saves you from potential structural damage, costly repairs, and injury. Moreover, it protects you and your family from harsh conditions while making your home cozy and comfortable.