10 Renovations to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather
You may have your eye on a number of home renovations right now. You could be looking at bathroom remodeling, countertop installation, and replacing all the floors. While these are nice projects to plan out, there are other projects that should take priority. These include renovations that will help prepare your home for winter weather.
So, how can you prepare your home for winter, and what renovations should you prioritize? Here are ten renovations you should plan to prepare your home for the winter months.
Check The Heating and Cooling System
When you prepare your home for winter weather, one of the first things to do is check the heating and cooling system. The system may seem like it’s working well throughout the summer and fall, but winter weather could cause the system to work overtime and eventually break. Make sure your heating system components, such as your furnace and all your vents, are intact. You may notice the furnace filters are dirty, so take time to do some furnace cleaning yourself or hire experts to do the job.
You should also check other major units in your home before winter hits. Inspect your home’s appliances, such as the refrigerator and dishwasher, as well as the water heater. Getting new appliances in the winter can be a hassle, especially if you live in an area where it snows. Moving new appliances into your home in the winter can be daunting, so try to replace them in the fall before the cold weather hits. If you suspect your water heater is damaged, contact professionals to help you fix it. You could need general water heater repair or tankless water heater repair, depending on what kind of water heater you have. The last thing you want is to run out of hot water in the cold winter months. Getting your water heater fixed, or getting a new one altogether, can help you prevent that from happening.
Inspect The Roof
Inspecting your roof is another way to properly prepare your home for winter weather. During the winter, temperatures drop and some areas experience heavy snow. This weather can cause ice to build upon your roof and drop heavy snow on it. If your roof is in rough shape before winter hits, the weather could cause damage to your roof. This damage includes cracks, leaks, and if the snow is heavy enough, the roof could even collapse.
Get your roof inspected before winter to avoid these scenarios. The industry recommends having two annual inspections, typically after winter and summer as these are usually the hardest seasons on your roof. The inspector will look for things like leaks, cracked or broken shingles, and water damage. If they find substantial damage to your roof, you may want to consider contacting experts in roofing services and talk about replacing your roof. If your roof is in bad shape before winter, it may not withstand winter conditions. It may cost you some money upfront, but once the roof is repaired or replaced, you won’t have to worry about it throughout the winter.
Check The Pipes
One of the most important things to do to prepare your home for winter weather is to check the pipes. Your home’s pipes have an increased chance of freezing when winter hits, which means there’s also an increased risk of the pipes bursting. To prevent this, check your pipes at the end of summer or in the early fall and assess their condition. If your pipes are rusty, leaking, or if you notice a bad odor coming from them, then they may be in need of replacing. If you let them go unrepaired throughout the winter, you risk them becoming even more damaged and potentially bursting. That could potentially cost you up to $2,000 to fix, plus the cost of fixing the damage the burst causes.
Be sure to check the other parts of your home that connect to the pipes as well. Evaluate your sewage system and your drains to make sure they’re working properly. There could be a backup that’s impacting the drainage system that you didn’t catch right away. If that’s the case, look into services that offer sewer and drain cleaning. Once you get it done, you won’t have to worry about anything going wrong during the winter months.
When you prepare your home for winter weather, make it a priority to seal any cracks you see. Having cracks in your home may not seem like a big deal in the summer and fall months, but you’ll feel a difference when winter hits. Having cracks in your home during the winter causes cold air to enter your home and warm air to exit. This can lead to a big increase in your energy bill. Leaving cracks to fester in the winter also cause moisture to enter the cracks and freeze, which can make the cracks bigger.
To avoid this, seal the cracks in your home before winter hits. Check the walls, doorframes, window panes, and even the foundation. Cracks in the foundation can cause major issues for your home, so check it thoroughly before the cold weather rolls in. Another thing to check for cracks in the garage door. Cracks in the garage door can cause drafts to enter your home and the door to become more damaged. If you notice cracks, call someone who specializes in garage door services that can help you properly fix it.
Test The Smoke Detectors
If you’re going to run your heating system in the winter, you must test your smoke detectors. Something in your heating system could short circuit or break at any moment and cause a fire. Having smoke detectors that function properly is a defense that keeps you and your family safe. You can test your smoke detectors by pressing the “test” button on each detector. If you hear a high-pitched siren, then you know the detector works. If the tone isn’t loud or doesn’t appear at all, then you know it’s time to replace the batteries.
Having functioning smoke detectors is crucial during the winter months. You may be using propane heaters or lighting the fireplace to create warmth in your home. While these are good sources of heat, they increase the risk of a fire occurring. Smoke detectors will help alert you if smoke is present and if there’s a fire breaking out. While it’s important to keep your home warm, it’s more important to keep your home safe.
Clean The Gutters
Your gutters collect a lot of debris during the fall months. Dead leaves and twigs can line the gutters and clog them. That’s why you should clean out your gutters when you prepare your home for winter weather. If you don’t clean them out, you risk them becoming even more clogged when winter comes. If you live in an area where it snows, the melted snow can drip off the sides and seep into your walls. This could cause some serious water damage throughout the winter if you aren’t careful.
Clean your gutters out before the first round of winter weather hits. Dig out all the debris you can and throw it out. Many people clean their gutters by propping up a ladder and getting the debris out on their own. If you don’t feel comfortable getting on a ladder, you can invest in an extension kit to clean the gutters. You could also hire someone to do it if you don’t have the time or don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own.
Replace The Windows
If you want to properly prepare your home for winter weather, you have to evaluate and replace your old windows. Old windows cause drafts to enter your home, and those drafts feel especially cold in the winter. Signs that your old windows need replacing include difficulty opening and closing the windows, abnormal condensation forming on the panes, and excessive wear and tear along the sill. Replacing windows may seem like an expensive investment to make upfront, but it can help you save money on your heating service. The money you save by not letting warm air out of your home could make up for the upfront cost.
You should also evaluate the condition of the windows you have in your doors. Check the windows on your normal doors and your security storm doors to ensure they’re in good condition before winter hits. Even though they’re smaller than your normal windows, they can still impact the energy efficiency of your home in the winter.
Trim Overgrown Branches
One way to prepare your home for winter weather that you may not have thought of is trimming overgrown branches. Winter is a great time to trim branches because there are no leaves to get in the way. It’ll be pretty simple to go out and trim the branches, as long as you’re okay being out in the winter weather for a bit.
Trimming overgrown branches can also decrease the chances of them breaking under the weight of heavy snow or ice. If you have overgrown branches hanging extremely close to your home, they could cause damage if they break. The last thing you need in the winter is an overgrown branch breaking and damaging your siding or windows. Be proactive in this situation and trim them before the winter weather comes.
Evaluate The Deck
When you prepare your home for winter weather, you have to prepare all aspects of your home, including your deck. If your deck is in rough shape before the winter, it may not survive the wear and tear of winter weather. Before the weather hits, evaluate your deck for damage. If it has cracks, rotting wood, or unbalanced beams, try getting these issues fixed as soon as possible. The snow and ice could make these issues worse and cause permanent damage to your deck if they aren’t taken care of.
If your deck is in good shape, you should still do some general maintenance on it before winter comes around. Do some power washing to clean away debris and properly store your patio furniture. Keep the furniture in a dry place where you know snow and ice won’t get to it. Once the winter weather hits, don’t forget to shovel off your deck or de-ice it. Keeping up deck maintenance throughout the winter can make it easier for you to reopen the deck once spring comes.
Clean Up The Yard
Typically, homeowners do a lot of yard cleaning and upkeep in the fall. Old leaves are falling and older branches fall off trees during this time. Some people clean their yards right away, while others put it off. The key is not to put it off too long, though, so make sure you clean your yard of all debris before winter comes.
There are several reasons why you should clean your yard before winter hits. For starters, if you live in an area where it snows, having debris below the snow can be a safety hazard. There could be branches and twigs lying underneath the snow that could cause injury if someone were to fall. Also, the debris can become more difficult to get rid of in the spring if it sits underneath snow and ice all winter. Save yourself the headache and get rid of it all before winter.
There are many home renovations to consider as you prepare your home for winter weather. The key is to identify which projects will have the most impact on you and your home. If the renovations will save you time, money, or energy, then prioritize those projects above all else. You want your home to be a warm and safe place in the winter, and certain renovations will help you achieve your goals better than others. Work on those projects first and then focus on the rest. Preparing your home for winter may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get started, you’ll get through the to-do list before you know it.