7 Tips to Get Your House Ready for Winter
Is your home ready for winter? You can protect your home and reduce repair costs by following a few simple tips:
1. Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
Prevent water damage to your home by draining your outdoor faucets. If you don’t, water trapped inside the pipes can freeze and the pipes can burst. Avoid expensive repair bills caused by pipes bursting by simply shutting off the outdoor faucets from inside. Here’s how:
Locate the indoor shutoff valves for each outdoor faucet and turn them off. Then go outside and open the outdoor faucets to drain any remaining water and leave them open. Drain water hoses and store them in the garage.
2. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Get rid of leaves and twigs in your gutters that can prevent proper drainage of water and can increase the risk of ice dams. When snow melts, the runoff goes into your gutters and re-freezes, which can create an ice dam. If the gutters are clogged and water has nowhere to go, it could back up under roof shingles and eaves. Cleaning your gutters now will allow water to be diverted away from your home.
3. Remove Branches Hanging Over House
Snow and ice can accumulate on branches and weigh them down, which can cause serious damage if they fall on the home or on wires connected to the home. Have them pruned back or removed. If the branches are touching utility lines, contact the utility company to have them removed by one of their professionals.
4. Cover Air Conditioner Condensers
Covering your air conditioner condenser will help prevent dirt, leaves, and other debris from getting in the condenser fan and the coils. Build-up of debris in and around your air conditioner unit decreases efficiency, causes damage, and can lead to corrosion. Covering the air conditioner unit during the winter will allow it to work at optimal efficiency during the warm months and will decrease maintenance costs. Make sure the covering is mold and mildew resistant and is NOT air tight so moisture can evaporate if trapped inside the unit. And don’t forget to remove it at the end of winter!
5. Cover Outdoor Furniture & Disconnect Gas Grills
If possible, store your outdoor furniture indoors. But if you don’t have the room, use covers specifically made for outdoor furniture. Fabric covered cushions should be stored indoors. Be sure to brush them off and make sure they are completely dry before bringing them indoors. Natural materials such as wicker should also be kept indoors during the winter. If you have a gas grill, disconnect the propane tank. Cover the grill to prevent rust and extend the life of the ignite switch, burners, and knobs.
6. Remove Window Screens
When possible, it’s a good idea to take your window screens down for the winter. Window screens can reduce sunlight, and during winter you want to allow as much natural light to enter the home as you can. Heavy snow and ice build-up can also damage screens, so they will last longer when stored.
7. Have Shovel and Salt Ready
Don’t wait until a snowstorm has already arrived before checking to see if you have rock salt and a good snow shovel. You run the risk of either paying higher prices due to demand or stores being sold out of both. If you already have a shovel, make sure it’s still in good condition and will hold up to another season. If you need to replace your existing shovel, purchase one that’s lightweight and allows you to shovel without twisting your back. Many snow shovels nowadays have ergonomic handles and non-stick blades. And make sure you have a plenty of rock salt as well as sand for steps and driveways.