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How to Winterize Your Home

A chill in the air means even colder temps and snow are just around the corner. Are you prepared or is it time to winterize your home? Beyond raking the yard and bringing warm blankets out of storage, there are a wide variety of tasks that you can complete to keep your home cozy and safe. 

Let's Start With the Outside 

To winterize your home, first clear leaves and debris from your gutters and downspouts. This allows rain and melted snow to flow down and away from your home. Blocked gutters can be very detrimental. If water cannot flow out, a cycle of snow melting then freezing into ice can build layers that eventually reach and damage your roof structure. This will let in cold air and even cause a leak. Water damage can then quickly spread and lead to even more serious issues.

Next up, be sure to disconnect hoses from the bib and add an insulated cover—you can easily find them online. Close crawlspace vents that you might have opened for the summer. Safely, trim any weak or dead tree branches, especially ones hanging over your roof, driveway or your neighbor's property. Wind and heavy, wet snow can cause branches to break, and you don't want them falling on anything that requires a call to your home insurance company. 

Feeling ambitious? You might want to seal the deck if it’s been a while since you last tackled the job. It's a lot easier and cheaper than fixing a rotten or warped deck down the road. Finally, to winterize your home, cover up or store your outdoor furniture and head to your local hardware or big box store for winter supplies. Remember, if you wait until a snowstorm shows up in the forecast, shovels and salt will sell out quickly leaving you empty-handed. 

Moving Inside Your Home 

Walk through to detect drafts around your windows, doors, lights and switchplates. All it takes is a little caulk or weatherstripping to seal things up. Check that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home are working properly (replace batteries if needed), make sure the fireplace flue seals tightly and move furniture away from heating vents to create proper airflow. You might also want to look into smart or programmable thermostats (such as Nest or ecobee) that can help you conserve energy, especially when you're away from home. 

While most home winterizing tasks are DIY, you'll want to bring out service professionals to inspect, service and repair key structures like the roof and chimney, as well as to blow out your sprinkler lines and get the system shut down for winter. You will also want your HVAC serviced—there’s nothing like a furnace conking out on a cold winter night. Follow up by replacing your furnace filter every 4-6 weeks. 

Always Worth the Effort

As a homeowner, winterizing your home might seem like a hefty task, but the reward is in maintaining a safe home that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. Preventative measures will help you avoid expensive repairs and ensure greater resale value if and when you decide to sell. 

Don't let winter catch you off guard. Click here to download our full checklist!

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