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Winter is Coming: How to Prepare Your Home for the Cold

With winter on the horizon, some people fill their homes with cozy throw blankets, candles and holiday decorations. But there’s often kinds of winter preparation that can help you keep out the cold, avoid insurance claims and save you money. These easy tips will help you prepare your home for a safe and comfortable winter season.

 

Roof and Gutters

  • Trim trees and bushes and clear your yard of lose tree branches and leaves that can collect around external drains and cause flooding
  • Make sure your gutters are clean and water run-off is unobstructed. At least once a year physically remove debris and build-up from your gutters and ensure your downpipes are clear. Blocked gutters and pipes can force water to back up and soak into roofs, walls and even the foundation
  • Add a downspout or connect an eavestrough downspout extension so it extends at least 6 feet from foundation walls to prevent water from draining into your basement. Direct this towards the street
  • Inspect the roof. Replace raised or loose shingles and check for rust in the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes

Windows and Doors

  • Check gaps between siding and window or door framers. If they are bigger than the width of a nickel you need to reapply exterior calk or weather stripping
  • Disconnect all garden hoses, draining water that remains in the faucets and turn off at the main shut-off valve. Same goes for lawn irrigation systems
  • Insulate the pipes in your crawlspace and attic

In Your Home

  • Have a technician test your furnace or heat pump to ensure that the system is in working order
  • If relevant, test your sump pump (commonly found and used to remove water from the basement) by slowly pouring several gallons of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months, but especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one
  • Have an emergency kit handy with things like flashlights, candles and blankets/hand warmers, non-perishable food and a first aid kit for power outages
  • Clean your chimney
  • Restock winter supplies before the first winter storm. Ensure you have a stock of cold-weather essentials such as salt and snow shovels on hand

After taking these precautions, you can rest easy knowing you’ve prepared your home for a safe and comfortable winter. Then you can focus on enjoying the season with your family and friends.