When the leaves begin to fall, it’s a sign that homeowners should begin preparing for the winter weather to come. Whether it’s snow and ice or wind and rain, you want your home’s exterior to be ready. A little preparation may go a long way to help keep the exterior of your house in good condition into next spring and beyond.
Starting at the front door, walk around the exterior of your home and consider these tips to help with your winterizing efforts.
Hover over or click on the icons below to learn tips on how to winterize your home.
If you feel a draft coming in under your front door or any other exterior door, BobVila.com suggests installing a draft guard that can slide between the door and the floor or ground to help stop heat from escaping. An added bonus is that less dirt and debris may creep in as well.
But if you’re feeling a large draft, you may want to consider replacing an exterior door with a new one that’s more energy efficient. According to Energy.gov, steel and fiberglass entry doors may offer five times the insulating value of a wooden door.
According to BobVila.com, make sure to shut off and drain any external faucets or sprinkler systems. You should also disconnect and store your garden hoses, says the site. Otherwise, trapped water may freeze and damage pipes.
As you inspect the exterior of your home, look for gaps in the siding along window frames and doors, BobVila.com suggests. Thoroughly fill any noticeable gaps with caulk. It’s an inexpensive way to fix air leaks, and it may help save you money on energy bills, according to EnergyStar.gov.
Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters to help prevent ice buildup and icicles, says EnergyStar.gov. Clean gutters will help enable melting ice to flow away from your house, BobVila.com notes. Because there are so many chances for snow and ice to freeze and thaw in the winter, having clean gutters may help prevent possible roof or interior ceiling damage, according to the site. If you have safety concerns about cleaning your gutters, consider hiring a professional.
While you’re checking on your gutters, make sure your roof can handle a major storm, says Ready.gov. If you haven’t lived through a winter in your home, the agency suggests consulting with a roofing professional to help ensure that your roof is strong enough to withstand a heavy snowfall. If the professional finds any roof leaks or other damage, repair them before the winter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Remember, roof inspections should be left to a professional.
Fall is a good time to trim any dead branches on your property, as winter storms can weigh down trees and branches with ice and snow. If the branches are dead, that extra weight can cause them to break off the tree, potentially hitting whatever is beneath, such as your car or home, according to BobVila.com. The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests you also trim branches that are close to the sides of your house and roof that may cause damage.
Keep snow-melting materials and sand in an easy-to-access spot so that you will be ready to clear sidewalks and your driveway and help add traction when winter weather strikes. Ready.gov recommends making sure you have enough rock salt or, if you have pets, a deicer that is safe for use near animals. You may want to consider products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Safer Choice Standard.”
These maintenance tips may help ensure your home’s exterior stays safe and sound during the winter months.