5 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

When fall hits, one of the things that you know is that cold weather and winter are not far behind. It’s time to bring in your patio furniture, close down the pool for the winter and break out the cold weather clothing.

Getting ready for winter also means that you want to make sure your home’s exterior is ready for the colder season. We know that you are concerned about making sure that your home is as ready as it can be for the upcoming season. So we have put together some helpful tips that you can use to ensure that your home is as ready for the colder seasons as you are.

Check Gutters & Drainage

During the winter there is more rainfall, so it’s important that you are ready. Even though it’s not fun to clean out your gutters, it might just save you some money. Gutters that are well-maintained can reduce the need for replacing them and lower your chances of having roof damage.

Clogged gutters might overflow, and they might also break, placing strain on your roof. It also might become full of ice, which can cause strain on your gutters and roof and can lead to damage from thawing.

Whether you are doing it with old fashioned methods or you have some special tools, here’s a few things to do.

Set the ladder against your home’s side. Have someone holding your ladder and ensure the ground it’s on is level.

  • Use a trowel or small shovel to scoop the dirt from your gutters.
  • Dump the dirt into a bag or on a tarp.
  • Flush your gutters using a hose to get them completely clean.
  • Once it’s clean, check for other kinds of issues with drainage.

Check the basement for stains from water damage and see if there is mildew in the attic. Both water damage and mildew mean that your drainage isn’t taking the water too far from the house. This is particularly true if you have an older house.

If water’s getting into your home’s foundation, your basement and attic are going to begin showing signs of dampness. If you are noticing this, it’s a good idea to extend your downspout so that water’s directed further away.

Test The Home’s Sump Pump

A sump pump will act as your home’s defense against the buildup of condensation, drain water and floods. Before winter begins, test it out. You’ll want to ensure it’s working. If it isn’t, you might end up with damage to your foundation and a basement full of water.

Once you locate your exit pipe, check it and make sure there isn’t any debris or dirt. If you find clogs, now’s the time to remove them. Make certain water’s directed away from the foundation of your home.

If your pump is dual cord, you should unplug both of them. If you are hearing humming when you’re plugging in your pump’s cord, it’s working the way that it should. Remember to re-plug it back in.

If your pump is single cord, pour a little over 5 gallons full of water into the pit of your pump until you see your float rises. That’s when you should hear the pump turning on. While it’s on, make certain that it’s working the way that it should and the pump’s turning off once the water’s removed.

It’s also a good idea to get a home water detector. This will help with protecting the basement further from moisture.

Check Out Window Wells

These are great ways that you can allow natural light to come into your basement as well as provide the basement with ventilation. They will also help with keeping the soil away from your window fixtures. However, if they aren’t well maintained, they also can cause problems for your basement.

One of the biggest reasons that window wells flood is because the liner fails. If the liner detaches from the wall of the foundation, the gap in between the wall and loose liner. This will give water the opportunity to come in when soil’s oversaturated.

Before winter starts, check the window well. This is when the problem might be really bad. Inspect your liners, replacing any of them that have loosened.

Check Dryer Vents

When the weather gets colder, chances are that you are going to use your dryer a lot more. A lot of fires are started by dryers, so you want to make sure that you are reducing your risk of being one of the 15,000 fires that happen each year.

Make sure you’re removing the lint that has built up to reduce your fire risk and improve the energy efficiency of your household.

  • Clean your lint filter. This often can be found towards your dryer’s front.
  • Slide your filter out, then scrape off the lint. You can use your vacuum to remove the lint that you can’t remove with your fingers. Replace your filter after it’s cleaned.
  • Then, clean your lint vents. These usually can be found at the rear of your dryer. If you can’t find them, check the instructions from your manufacturer.
  • Take your flathead screwdriver, using it to loosen your clamps. This is going to let you pull your vent from your wall and dryer. Then hold your vent upright, using a duct brush made for dryer vents to brush the piping down.
  • Twist your brush when pulling it out, making sure that you are gentle. Keep doing this until you have removed all of the lint.
  • Reconnect your vent and turn on the dryer for approximately 15 minutes. Doing this will force air through your vents as well as blow lint out that could be stuck in your vent or tubing.

Check the Electrical System

Since winter will bring in days which are darker for much longer and colder temperatures, you don’t want your electricity to fail. Before it really gets cold, make sure that you are scheduling a tune-up on your electrical system. Check your main panel for sparks and inspect your breaker wires for discoloration and bad insulation.

Test the flow of power through your circuits with a multi-meter. Check things such as wall sockets and extension cords along with your heating system.

While you are doing this, test your GFCI as well. All you’ll need to do is press your test button, then use your multi-meter for determining if there’s power that’s flowing through.

If you have problems, hire a good electrician to further investigate. It’s not something that you should try yourself.

These are just a few of the things that you can do to help your home’s exterior to be ready for the brutal weather that the winter can bring. We hope that you have found this to be helpful and that you will come back and check our blog, because we will be putting up new blogs each Monday to help you with different things in your life.

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