It’s a topic you don’t want to think about: Summer ending, snow and sleet on the heels of fall foliage clogging up your gutters and covering your yard. As much as you may dislike the beginning of cold weather, your house hates it just as much! Systems that haven’t been used in many months get pressed into service, while wet weather and ice wreak havoc on your roof.
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can do now, while the weather is still relatively nice, to prepare your home for the onslaught of the changing seasons. Getting your home ready for fall and winter may not be the most exciting task, but it’s critical to keep your home and its systems functioning properly!
Check Your Roof
First and foremost, make sure your roof is in good condition. After spring and summer rain and sun, your roof can take quite a beating, even in warmer weather. Before it’s covered in snow, make sure you take care of any last-minute maintenance to prevent leaks.
While you’re up there, consider cleaning out your gutters. If you’re like most people, you probably have a season’s worth of accumulated leaves and other tree debris. Unfortunately, clogged gutters can prevent snowmelt from making it off your roof, which can cause additional problems like ice dams.
Inspect Major Systems
After giving your heating system a break for several months, you’ll want to make sure it’s in good working order by the time cold weather arrives! Change the furnace filter and consider having it inspected before you have to turn it on for the season.
Likewise, ensure that you give your air conditioning system a good once-over before the season ends so that you know you’re leaving it in good shape for next year. If you have an exterior air conditioning unit, you may consider getting a cover for it to keep out debris, snow, and ice during the winter.
Seasonal transitions can be a good time to check that all of the systems in your house are functioning appropriately and are cleaned up and ready to go for winter. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of places in your home to check:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Plumbing systems, including water heating
- Windows, doors, and other points of ingress
- Home security systems
- Fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and other alert systems
- Fire prevention systems such as fire extinguishers
- Fireplaces and chimneys
- Home appliance systems, including kitchen appliances, garbage disposal, etc.
Look for Leaks
The time to take care of thermal leaks around your doors and windows is before it gets cold! Take the time to look at each of your windows and doors, and assess whether you need to patch caulking, replace weather stripping, or invest in thermal curtains. By taking time now to address your home’s “thermal envelope,” or the areas where heated air is separated from unheated areas, you can stay warmer all winter long!
Have an Emergency Plan
One last thing to consider before it gets truly cold is to start planning now for winter weather emergencies. If your electricity or heating fails, what will you do? Packing a small emergency bag or chest can help you stay ready, no matter what. Ensure that you’re stocked up on winter basics, like salt or deicing material, as well as flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food.
Transitioning to Winter
Once colder weather has truly set in, it may be too late to tackle some of these tasks to winterize your home. That’s why we recommend taking care of your home’s needs before you’ve put away the barbecue grill and fired up the snowblower for the first time. That way, you can know your home will be ready to face whatever winter has in store.
Still looking for the dream home you’ll spend the winter in? Here’s why fall is a great time to buy a home!