How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

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Fall in Kansas is a good time for all homeowners to start thinking about some general items to help prepare your home for winter. Our weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to inspect and prepare your home when the weather is nice to prevent costly damage issues once the cold sets in. Taking proactive measures now can also help keep your heating bills down.

Pre-Winter Home Checklist

Most of the items on this list can be done by the average homeowner. However, we recommend consulting a professional contractor, plumber, electrician or HVAC technician for items you don’t feel comfortable tackling yourself.

Clean Gutters

Leaves and debris can build up in your home’s guttering throughout the summer and fall, especially if you don’t have gutter covers. Making sure your gutters are clear before winter will ensure that any snow and ice runoff will be safely carries away from your house. Without proper drainage, ice dams could build up and damage the edge of your roof.

Check the Roof

While you’re on the ladder cleaning out the gutters, make sure there are no sticks, frisbees or other items laying on the roof. These could cause damage when snow and ice hits in winter. Fall is also a good time to have a roof inspection done to ensure there are no leaks or missing shingles.

Check for Air Leaks

As part of your regular home maintenance schedule, you should inspect your doors and windows to ensure a good seal is present to prevent water intrusion and heat loss. If you see any gaps or find any drafts around windows or doors, apply weather stripping to seal them up. Be sure to check the bottom of your exterior doors, which is a common area for air leaks.

Inspect Caulking

Look around the top, bottom, and sides of your windows for any loos or missing caulking. It can be easily removed and replaced in less than an hour, and it will prevent leaks that can raise your heating bills.

Fertilize Your Lawn

As we get deeper into September and October and the daytime temps start to cool off, it’s a great time to give your lawn a good feeding. This will help the grass recover from the stress of summer and prepare for dormancy over the winter. You’ll appreciate this extra step when you see how lush and green your lawn will look next spring.

Winterize Your Sprinklers

After you are done watering your lawn for the season, and before the first hard freeze, be sure to blow out your sprinkler system. Here in the Wichita area, irrigation companies and many landscapers offer this service along with a spring sprinkler start-up. Sprinkler winterization will clear the water out of your irrigation system, including the sprinkler heads and backflow preventer so you won’t have to worry about broken sprinkler lines when temps drop below freezing.

Secure Outdoor Supplies

Your outdoor water supply is another possible source of frozen pipes, so make sure to detach and drain all hoses from the spigots. Put away or cover your barbecue grill, patio furniture and other outdoor equipment that will not be used during winter.

Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

The last thing you want when the first blast of winter arrives is to find out your furnace isn’t working. Schedule a professional furnace tune-up and HVAC inspection early so you know it’s ready when you need it. Keeping your heating system clean and maintained will help it last longer and keep your energy bills down.

Stock up On Supplies

Finally, if you’re at the hardware store getting items for the above list, you might as well stock up on a few extra supplies for your home that may come in handy in case of a snow or ice storm:

  • sand or ice melt for your driveways and sidewalks
  • extra batteries and flashlights in case of a power outage
  • a new snow shovel
  • blankets for your vehicles
  • bottled water

A weekend of inspection and preparation now could save you huge headaches this winter!