Preparing for Winter

The fall is the perfect time to start thinking about winterizing your home and preparing for severe cold weather. The reason why you want to winterize is so that you will not sustain any damage from the cold weather. Plus, if you winterize and the cold weather causes damage anyway, your homeowner's insurance will cover your home against the winter weather damage.

You want to make sure that you are thorough with your winterization. Most of what needs to be done is inspections. These inspections will ensure that nothing is wrong. Many times, everything will be okay. Other times, you will notice that something needs to be improved. If it does, you simply fix the issue and that should keep any winter weather issues from occurring.

Furnace and Fireplace

You do want to have an HVAC professional do your furnace inspection. They will also clean out the ducts for you in order to prevent any issues from occurring over the winter. You also want to make sure you buy plenty of furnace filters so that you can change them on a monthly basis. Your furnace filters catch everything from dust to pet hair.

You will also want to remove any flammable materials from around your furnace. If you have a hot-water radiator, you do want to open the valves slightly to bleed them. When you see water, you can close them. If you use propane, you will need to have your propane tank filled. You will also want to make sure everything is in good working order.

If you have a fireplace, make sure you have a screen or a cap on top of the chimney to keep out the birds and other rodents. If you haven't had a chimney sweep come and clean your chimney for a while, this is something you want to do. Too much soot in the chimney can cause a chimney fire. This is also a good time for you to buy or chop your firewood and store it in a dry place.

Also make sure your fireplace damper is opening and closing properly. The mortar between the bricks shouldn't be cracked either. If you see any cracks, the issue will need to be fixed. That way no heat goes where it shouldn't. Heat seeping into cracks where it shouldn't be can cause further cracking and even be a fire hazard.

Checking the Exterior

The exterior is what is going to be exposed directly to the winter weather, so you want to make sure everything is in check. Winter damage has been known to not be evident when it happens, but may be evident in the summer when it rains. So make sure you inspect the outside around the doors and windows for cracks.

You want to replace any window glass that may be cracked. Actually, replace and repair anything that is cracked. If you have a basement, you can protect it by placing shields over your window wells. This will keep out any melting snow. And in regards to melting snow, you will need to inspect your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are not clogged. If they are, you can unclog them.

Worn shingles or roof tiles should be replaced as well. All it takes is one heavy snow to melt and all of that melted snow will find its ways into the cracks and into the home's interior. Because you will be preparing for winter during the fall, you may want to install leaf guards to keep the leaves out of your gutters after you've cleaned them. From there, you can then rake all debris away from your foundation, look for cracks, and repair them.

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