The holiday season is coming up and that means it’s about to get cold—even freezing, depending on where you live! As you scramble to decorate your home, shop for gifts, and bake all the usual holiday treats, don’t forget to treat your house to some winter maintenance before it gets cold. Preparing your house for the lower temperatures may not be as fun as shopping for presents, but it’s a necessity if you want to stay warm and safe this winter. So check out these six winter home prep tips to try as the temperatures start to dip.
The holiday season may bring to mind thoughts of trimming your Christmas tree with loved ones gathered around, but that’s not exactly what we mean by trimming trees in this case! You also need to literally trim the branches of any trees on your property as part of your winter home prep routine.
Why is this? Well, if any of the branches of your trees happen to be touching your house, they can cause damage to the siding or roof shingles after a winter storm. After all, if the branches get covered in snow or ice during winter, the extra weight can cause them to snap and land on your roof or even burst through a window.
That kind of damage could result in a scene straight out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Luckily, you can avoid it by simply grabbing some pruning shears or a chainsaw and trimming back tree branches before the next winter storm.
Another piece of winter home prep to consider is keeping your home’s gutters free of debris. This is because, during the fall, dead leaves and twigs often land in the gutters. This can create a blockage that will become a real problem after the first storm of the winter.
When snow and ice come down and land in the gutters, they’re supposed to be able to melt and then flow smoothly away from your home and onto the ground. But if your gutters are filled with fall leaves and other debris, the water won’t be able to flow, meaning it will collect and eventually rot the wood.
You can avoid damage to the exterior of your home by taking a scoop or trowel and getting rid of any debris that might stop the flow of melted snow in the winter. This is one piece of winter home prep that should only take a few minutes of your time and won’t require you to hire an expert.
As you wrap presents this holiday season, take a few minutes to also wrap the pipes outside your home! Granted, you’re going to need something other than wrapping paper for this. You can buy pipe wrap tape or foam pipe insulation from your local home improvement store.
If you’re expecting freezing weather soon and won’t be able to make it to the store before it arrives, you can go the DIY route by taping old rags and towels around your pipes. Either way, your pipes will stay warm and protected in freezing weather, making them less likely to burst and damage your home.
Winter is the perfect time of year to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book. But first, you’ll need to make sure it’s clean and safe enough to do so. This means getting your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected before you start using them regularly. Hiring a chimney sweep every year before winter arrives can ensure you don’t end up with a buildup of creosote in the chimney, reducing the odds of a fire.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, this is a good time to start collecting or buying firewood. Just make sure you store it in a spot on your property where it will stay dry without being too close to the house, as insects and rodents like to hide in stacks of firewood!
Another winter home prep task to do before it gets cold is sealing up any gaps around your home. Look carefully around door and window frames to detect any gaps and then seal them up with silicone caulk or weatherstripping.
This winter home prep tip will help you keep cold air out and heated air inside, which will not only keep you warm but also save you up to 10 percent on energy costs. Plus, sealing the gaps around the house can keep melted snow and ice outside where it belongs, not inside your house where it will cause damage.
Finally, now is the perfect time of year to make sure you have everything you need to stay warm in case of a winter emergency. Whether you’re worried about being snowed in or you just don’t love the idea of driving on icy streets, you should stock up on your winter needs now so you don’t have to leave the house as much this season.
First, make sure you have everything you need to stay warm. This ranges from blankets and robes to sweaters, thick socks, and gloves. You never know when the heater will stop working or you’ll have to unexpectedly go outside, so keep everything within easy reach this winter, such as in a hall closet or mudroom. You should also have enough dry firewood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove, plus candles or flashlights in case the power goes out during a storm.
Additionally, stock your house with all your creature comforts in case you can’t make it to the store for several days. This means ensuring you have enough hot chocolate, coffee, and other favorite drinks to make it through the winter. Of course, be sure you have enough food to last a while, especially soups and other canned food that stays good for a long time.
You should also make sure any winter tools you have are in good working order so you can deal with the snow on your own if necessary. For example, make sure you have a good snow shovel and snow blower you can count on, as well as plenty of sand and rock salt to sprinkle on any driveways or sidewalks on your property.
If your home ends up damaged due to cold weather this winter despite your best efforts, you may be able to get it covered when you submit an insurance claim to your homeowner’s insurance company. If you don’t have insurance on your home yet, or if you’re thinking about switching companies, feel free to come to LemonBrew for help. We offer several types of home insurance, including homeowner’s, renter’s, mobile home, and more. We’d love to answer any questions you have and give you a quote, so contact us today!