Does winter conjure up images of sitting in front of a warm fire? Or of constantly putting out “fires” caused by winter’s impact on your home?
Many of the winter-related problems can be avoided with a little pre-winter planning. But during the fall season when you’re dealing with back-to-school, leaf-raking, and holiday preparation issues, who has time to prepare their home for the winter months?
That’s why the best time to plan for an upcoming winter is the previous winter.
Here’s an idea for you. Start by getting a calendar – any calendar.
It can even be one of those freebies that you get in the mail or from a store, community group, church, or animal shelter. Then write in reminders about which tasks to address throughout the year, and cross them off as you complete them. Keep this special calendar in your garage or on the wall in some visible area. By the time the weather begins turning colder again, your home will be ready for whatever Old Man Winter throws at it.
Here are some of the tasks to write in on your winter preparation calendar:
1. “Prune trees/shrubs.” Horticulturists say the best time to cut back stalks, branches, and small limbs is in the late winter just before the springtime growth.
2. “Redirect downspouts.” If the downspouts are just pushing water back toward your home, it’s not good for your foundation. And it could be the reason why your basement always leaks.
3. “Check roof.” Once the snow has melted, you can look for spots on your roof where shingles have been cracked, broken, or displaced – and get on your roofer’s schedule before it fills up.
4. “Repair water damage.” Put on your detective hat and figure out where any water leaks are coming from. Then repair the underlying problem so you don’t have to rely on patches or buckets next winter.
5. “Call chimney sweep.” Not only can he clean out your chimney and fireplace after a winter’s worth of use, but he can also examine the chimney to see if it needs any repairs.
6. “Check AC.” Many air conditioning companies will inspect your entire HVAC system and will also set up a reminder (or appointment) for a heater checkup for the following fall.
7. “Do home energy audit.” An energy savings professional can come out to your home and find areas where heat is escaping from your interior – so you can address those issues before the temperature drops again.
8. “Repair snow equipment.” Snowblower repairmen aren’t nearly as busy during the summer, and you can buy or order shovels, scrapers, or other accessories when they’re actually in stock.
9. “Insulate attic.” Installing an extra layer or two of insulation in your attic will keep the interior heat inside and break the freeze/thaw cycle that causes ice dams.
10. “Install heat cables.” Another way to prevent ice dams is to put in a heating cable system near your roofline which will automatically turn on when the mercury starts dropping.
11. “Plant shrubs.” Do this in the fall so that your new shrubs can grow and solidify their root systems before the ground gets too hard.
12. “Clean gutters.” This should actually be done once in the spring and once in the fall. It also helps you see whether you need gutter repair before rainy or snowy weather strikes.
Of course, Harry Helmet can help you with your winterizing to-do list if your home requires new seamless gutters, a roof replacement, or a gutter protection system. Feel free to contact Harry Helmet today for a free, on-site estimate – so you don’t get caught unprepared for the 2016-17 winter season.
Written by Del Thebaud