Preparing Your Home for Winter

Owning a home in an association

As temperatures drop, we have traded in the shorts for sweaters and have pulled those winter coats out of storage. But it isn’t just your wardrobe that needs changing out this time of year; your home needs a change, too. Taking steps now to winterize your home can make for a more comfortable (and less costly) winter. Not only will you make certain that your home’s heating equipment is running at peak performance, but proper winterizing also lets you head off potential problems before they arise.

Of course, there are basics that are talked about every year; look for air leaks around windows and doors, then make sure they are properly sealed with caulking or weather stripping. Wrap pipes that run through unheated areas of the home to keep them from bursting during a freeze, and winterize your windows with storm windows or plastic sheeting.
Once you’ve done these things, however, you’re not done. There are a few areas that tend to get overlooked but can cause problems down the road if left unchecked. So, before you unpack those sweaters, here are a few more items for your to-do list:

  • Get your mind in the gutter. Remove all leaves and debris from your gutters before winter sets in; clogged drains can prevent melted ice and snow from draining properly, and may even cause a back-up that allows water to seep into your house.
  • Fire up the furnace. Before first use, have your furnace cleaned and tuned up to make sure it’s ready for the cold months ahead. (And, of course, be diligent about changing out those filters every month.)
  • Work those windows. According to Lowe’s Home Improvement, loss of energy through windows accounts for as much as 20 percent of your home’s heating bill. Consider replacing your current window treatments with energy efficient products such as insulating blinds and thermal curtains.

Step outside
It’s not just your home that needs to get ready for winter; your yard needs a little extra TLC right now, too. The experts at ValleyCrest Landscape companies advise spending some time preparing your plants and property for cooler temperatures. Avoid pruning trees during this time of year, because it may stimulate growth and accidentally remove next year’s blooms. However, as you prepare for winter, this is a good time to remove twiggy growth and thin upper branches.
Other ways to prepare your plants and yard for winter include:

  • Mulch trees to prevent erosion and maintain soil moisture.
  • Monitor shrubs to make sure they stay moist, and avoid letting them dry out. Be sure that they have plenty of mulch, and apply a pre-emergent herbicide to curb weed growth.
  • Winterize your irrigation system by hiring an expert to remove all water from the pipes to prevent freezing and avoid pipes bursting.

Taking the right steps now to prepare your home for winter inside and out will make for a more comfortable season for you and your family, and ensure that your home will be ready for spring just a few months from now.
By Paula Felps
This article is provided by Associa Living.