Preparing Your Home for the Cold Weather
Everyone knows about spring cleaning: those tasks we do around our house to get it ready for the warm weather. But what about fall? What should we do to make sure our home is warm and cozy before cold weather arrives?
We reached out to Mike Bidwell, President and CEO of Neighborly, the world’s largest home services franchisor focused on repairing, maintaining and enhancing homes and businesses, for some homeowner tips. In his guest post, he shares his advice for what to do before the snowflakes start falling!
Preparing your home for the cold weather
By Mike Bidwell, CEO and President, Neighborly
Owning a home is a big investment that warrants preventative maintenance and the occasional repair job. Harsh, colder weather can accelerate costly damage to our homes, so preparing in advance of the rough winter months can help make time filled with holidays and family gatherings less worrisome.
What to look for
There are a number of checkboxes to complete to help protect your home from winter damage, such as checking around the outside of the house to look for any gaps or holes that mice or squirrels can nest in.
Another top priority is making sure your home will keep you warm. There is nothing more frustrating than a heater failing in the dead of winter. A quick check of your heating equipment is worthwhile to confirm in advance that all is running properly and with clean filters.
Furthermore, you should also keep an eye out for air leaks in the forced air duct system, seals and molding of your windows or doors, as these will cause your heating bill to skyrocket.
Pipes and water leakage are also important to consider, especially if you live in the north. Are your outdoor pipes and hose bibs insulated? Do your indoor faucets drip at night? If your home has a basement, this is where leaks could even lead to harmful mold infestations. You can identify leaks early on by looking for paint that is starting to bubble.
After completing these checks, say you find some problems… Now what?
What you can do
Upon realizing you have some issues to address in your home, you’re left with two options: ignore them and likely incur a hefty cost mid-winter when you have no choice but to fix them, or get ahead of things with pre-emptive measures. More often than not, maintenance is more cost-effective than replacement.
There are winter prep projects you can complete on your own, such as draining your sprinkler system or cleaning gutters. But if you want the job done right and as conveniently as possible, you’ll want to rely on the experts.
For instance, if you have central HVAC, reach out to a professional to safely check the drainage lines for clogs and to let you know if you need to replace the filters for your heating system. Hiring someone to clean your dryer vents and other exhaust vents is also incredibly important to maintain a safe home. And if you need help narrowing down and prioritizing which tasks need to be done, call up a licensed home inspector.
While maintenance needs will vary from one house to the next, these are the top fall and winter projects I’d recommend hiring a professional for:
- Identifying and repairing water leaks
- Cleaning and inspecting the heating system
- Preparing your yard and garden to withstand cold weather
- Getting a standby generator ready to go
- Adding insulation to your attic
- Providing protection for outdoor pipes and faucets
Ultimately, protecting your home is not only worthwhile for the sake of your investment, but it also helps to keep you and your loved ones safe and comfortable. That’s why these seasonal projects are not just a luxury, but rather a necessity worth your relatively small sum of time and money now versus a larger expense later on.
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