While temperatures have been pretty comfortable this past week, there is no denying that winter is on the way. With mornings in the 30’s and 40’s, I think it’s time to start talking about what we should be doing to get our homes ready for the cold before it actually comes. So without further ado, here are my top five tips:
Take a picture of your roof.
We’ll start with an easy one. Go outside and snap a photo of your roof from each direction. Wondering why? When we get a massive snowfall, I always recommend for people to get their roofs shoveled. Removing the snow helps to reduce the risk of leaks and other damage to your home. But when the snow is very deep, it’s impossible to see the pipes, skylights and other parts and pieces that stick up out of the roof. Keeping a picture of the clean surface is a great way to minimize the probability of an accident when you’re trying to prevent damage in the first place.
Mark the driveway.
Speaking of damage prevention, stop by the local hardware store and get some property markers. They are generally made of wood or metal and are sometimes painted in a fluorescent color. Use the markers to create an outline around your driveway. Just like your roof, when a blanket of snow hits, it’s impossible for a removalist to see where the driveway ends and where your lawn begins. Creating that parameter will help the snow plow truck operator know where to go, which should assist in keeping your curbs and grass intact.
Give the furnace a checkup.
If you haven’t put the heat on yet, you will soon. Don’t wait until you really need it to make sure that everything is in working order. Clean or replace your HVAC filters and check the temperature gauge to make sure you can power up and down with no problems. Also, now is the time to remove those window A/C units and check and clean those filters too. While you’re at it, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and change the batteries if necessary.
Seal up the air holes.
I get calls all winter long from people who are wondering why their house is so drafty. If you have an attic hatch, install an insulated box to prevent the cold air from coming down into your living space. Check all your windows and doors for gaps and use weatherstripping, foam, or insulation to seal it tight. If you have a fireplace that you don’t use, get that covered too. Any passageways from the inside to the outside can act as wind tunnels when the frigid winter air comes calling.
Clean those gutters.
We will have a few weeks of falling leaves before the deep freeze, but please don’t leave your gutters clogged to the hilt with debris. If you don’t clean your gutters, it will prevent winter water from flowing off the roof and down away from the foundation. If water has nowhere to go, it will refreeze in your gutters and at the base of your roof, resulting in dangerous ice dams and potential leaks. If you don’t want to do this dirty job yourself, schedule a pro to handle it for you. It will be worth it.
If you do just these five things, you’ll be in much better shape when the wicked weather decides to come our way. Plus it’s much more pleasant to get these jobs out of the way before it’s too cold and snowy to bother. Good luck and as always, don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help or advice.
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.