Shanahan Real Estate Group's agent Paula Sughrue has tips to winterize your home this fall. If youre like me, youve started pulling out long pants and sweaters from storage because of the change in weather. But, dont forget about your home, too. We also need to prepare our homes for the cold months ahead. Before you know it, the frigid temperatures will be here. Take advantage of the mild fall weather to get some outdoor chores accomplished. Take the time to assess your home to determine if there are any major repairs that need to be done. Some of these needed repairs could get worse during the winter months. With the help of some experts, I put together some tips to help you winterize your home and keep it in tip-top shape.
(1) Check out your roof and clean those gutters
A problem with your roof would only get worse over the winter. Replace worn roof shingles or tiles. Check flashing to ensure that water cannot enter the home. Also, if you notice snow melting on your roof while other snowy roofs in the neighborhood are not, air sealing and extra insulation might be the solution. You can add extra insulation in the attic to prevent warm air from getting to your roof and thus causing ice dams. Another cause of ice dams are clogged drains. Be sure to remove all of the fallen leaves from your gutters. You can remove them by hand and then use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris. You should also check downspouts to be sure that they are carrying water AWAY from your homes foundation. You can add extensions to the downspouts to direct the water away.
Its a good idea to turn your furnace on now, to make sure its even working, before the cold weather is upon us. Its suggested that you have your furnace cleaned and checked annually. Be sure that you remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
(3) Get Your Fireplace Ready
We all love to sit by the warm fire during the winter. Here are a few important step to take to ensure its safety. Before lighting your first fire of the year have your chimney inspected. Be sure the top of the chimney has a cap or screen to keep out foreign objects (birds, animals and tennis balls). Inspect the fireplace damper to ensure that it opens and closes properly. Just a reminder to keep out cold air, the damper should be closed when the fireplace isnt in use.
(4) Check Doors and Windows
Now of course is the time to take down your screens and replace them with glass ones. If you have storm windows, install them to give you an extra level of protection and warmth. If you have any windows that are cracked, have them replaced. To add another layer of warmth, hang thermal curtains in front of your windows. Another tip is to pull your chairs at least 6 away from your windows. Windows tend to be the coldest surfaces in our house and separating ourselves from them can make your home feel warmer. If your home has a basement, consider protecting your window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
(5) Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces
Rake away all debris from the foundation. Seal up any small holes or entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house. Trim trees and branches which hang too close to your house or wires. After Hurricane Irene there may be some loose branches that may need to come down. Move sensitive potted plants indoors. You can also plant your spring flower bulbs. Maybe Ill finally get around to doing this since Im putting this in writing .
(6) Check your alarms
This is a great time of year to check the operation of your homes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check to see that you have a fire extinguisher where it should be and replace those older than 10 years.
(7) Prevent Pipe Freezes
Drain all garden hoses and put them away for the winter. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Drain air conditioner pipes and if your air conditioner has a water shut- off valve, you should turn it off. If you go on vacation, leave the heat on 55 degrees. Hopefully, these tips will help you protect yourself and your home all winter long.