There are many things you can do to prepare your home for the cold months ahead. Here are simple tips to keep your home cozy and trouble-free from top to bottom, starting with your roof and gutter system.
- Inspect the roof. Look for shingles that are out of place or show signs of curling; loose material around pipes and chimneys; and excessive amounts of shingle granules in the gutters and below downspouts. If you see potential problems, don’t try to fix them yourself. Call a professional roofing contractor.
- Give your gutters a good cleaning. It’s not a pleasant job, but clearing the dry leaves and muck out of your gutters will prevent troublesome back-ups of water that can contribute to ice damming in the winter. Ice dams can cause a host of nasty problems, including ruined ceilings and damage to exterior walls. Consider the installation of quality gutter guards to avoid future gutter cleaning chores.
- Schedule an HVAC inspection. You can change furnace filters yourself, but enlist the help of a professional HVAC technician to service your system before cold weather hits. The technician can inspect mechanicals, check connections, look for leaks and do other maintenance that keeps your system performing optimally.
- Stop cold at the door. Sealing gaps around windows and doors is an easy way to stay warmer and save money. Common trouble spots are along the bottom of doors and gaps around the edges of window frames. Use caulk, sealant and weatherstripping as appropriate to seal openings.
- Sweep the chimney. Cleaning a chimney flue maintains optimum efficiency of the chimney and fireplace. Most importantly, it protects your house from chimney fires caused by build-up on the inside surface of the chimney. A professional chimney sweep can clean and inspect your chimney.
- Prep outdoor faucets. Outdoor water faucets are especially vulnerable to the cold. If pipes and faucets are not drained, water remaining inside will expand and could cause serious damage. Remember to disconnect and drain garden hoses at the end of fall, close the shut-off valve for the faucet and let any remaining water drain out of the pipe.