Ready or not, winter will soon be here. So we’ll soon be ‘enjoying’ the unique climatological by-products of winter: sub-freezing temperatures and lots of snow and ice.
But are you ready for it? Is your house ready to face the unique challenges of winter? Now is the time to find out. Use the checklist below to determine whether your home is ready to brave winter’s chill.
- Keep winter in its place: Winter belongs outside your home. Keep it where it belongs by making sure that your home is properly sealed against the cold. Check that all weather-stripping and caulking is in good condition, and free of gaps. If you know that some parts of your home are poorly insulated, now’s the time to correct that problem.
And consider installing storm windows, either as replacement windows or as reinforcements to your regular windows.
- Clear gutters: Gutters that clog with debris can ultimately cause a number of problems – including major damage to your roof or foundation. And wintertime can magnify the problem when water trapped in the gutter freezes. Now is a great time to assure that all gutters are clear and draining properly without any leakage.
- Prune limbs: Fall is a great time to check for tree branches that may have grown close to your roof. After the leaves have dropped, walk around your house and look for tree limbs that might contact your roof when they’re drooping with a load of snow or ice. Any limbs that might touch your house should be pruned back.
- Check pipe insulation. Few winter-related problems can cause quite the headaches that result from a busted water pipe. Check to see that all of your pipes are well insulated to prevent freezing. You can buy purpose-made pipe insulation designed to protect pipes – that’s the best move. But even wrapping pipes in old newspapers can help.
And when the cold weather does hit, remember that you can save yourself lots of grief by leaving just a trickle of water running through pipes during extended periods of freezing temperatures.
- Fire safety precautions. The majority of house fires occur during winter. So while it’s wise to have well-maintained fire extinguishers on hand year round, it’s especially critical during winter. Make certain, too, that everyone in your family knows how to use the extinguishers, and that they know where all of the extinguishers are located.
- Know your plumbing. Do you know how to shut the water off in the event of a burst pipe? Does everyone in your family know how to do that? That little bit of knowledge can make a massive difference in limiting the damage that can result from a pipe that bursts during a wintertime freeze.
- Check your home’s structural integrity. If your house has been around for a while, it would be wise to find out if the structure is still strong enough to bear the worst that winter might throw at you. The best way to do that is to hire a professional contractor to inspect structural integrity – and that’s a lot cheaper than hiring a contractor to repair major structural damage from snow or ice loads.
Last But Not Least…
Make sure that your snow-clearing equipment is ready to go. Or better yet, eliminate the need for snow-clearing equipment by purchasing a snow removal insurance policy from TLC Inc. That way you’ll be able to relax in the warmth of your home as TLC’s crew handles your snow removal chores for you.
With your snow removal policy in hand and your winter readiness checklist complete, you’ll be ready for the worst that winter can throw at you. But even though you’ll be ready for the worst, let’s hope that Old Man Winter is rather kind to us this year!