It is critical that a homeowner takes the time to inspect their home before winter to ensure that your home is ready for the colder weather. You want to make sure that your gutters are ready for torrential rains, your windows and doors are airtight, and the shrubs and trees around your home are trimmed and ready to withstand storms. Here are the top 11 repairs that you should complete before winter arrives:
1. Check your gutters and downspouts to be sure that they are properly secured. Snow and ice can pull gutters away from flashing, rendering them useless. Clean debris out of the gutters and extend downspouts away from your home to ensure that excess water does not flood your foundation. Remove any debris you find from the gutters.
2. Examine the flashing to find any signs of deterioration around your walls, skylights, chimney, or holes. These are areas where water can penetrate and cause damage. If you find leaks, use caulk to seal them.
3. Check vents and openings for rodents, birds, and insects.
4. Ensure all windows and doorframes have weather stripping installed to reduce heat loss. Replace any old weather stripping.
5. Remove door and window screens and put in storm doors and windows. Check window frames for signs of decay. If window frames are rotten, it is a good idea to replace them now.
6. Trim overgrown tree branches and trees to ensure that they do not break windows or take out electrical wires in windstorms.
7. Turn off exterior taps so that they do not freeze in colder weather.
8. Inspect your fireplace and have it cleaned. Look for cracks or voids that could pose a fire hazard or risk. Check for drafts that could indicate that the damper is rusted, worn, or warped. Replace your furnace’s air filter for better air quality and to make sure it is efficient.
9. Flush your hot water tank to remove sediment build-up and check the pressure relief valve to ensure it works correctly.
10. Check ducts in the basement, attic, and crawl space for leaks and use a sealant if you find leaks.
11. Reverse ceiling fans so that warm air is blown down to the floor that provides increased energy efficiency.
If you have significant amounts of debris or find that you need to get rid of a lot of garbage or excess waste, it is a good idea to rent a bin and keep it handy. Bins are a great way to eliminate junk, garbage, excess vegetation, and other items that you need to have removed from your home and yard.