Are you ready for winter?
…neither am I!
With winter just around the corner it’s never too early to start preparing for those freezing temperatures. Living in Tennessee, you never know what to expect in the winter forecast.
Instead of waiting till it’s cold and miserable outside, start the preparation now so you won’t have to worry about it later. I’ve compiled a list of 10 essential steps to get your home ready for the winter.
1. Pipe protection
Drain your water hoses and store them indoors prior to the first freeze. Making sure any pipes in unheated areas of the home are insulated correctly is crucial. With heat tape and pipe insulation being readily available at your local hardware store you don’t even have to worry about calling in a pro. Try searching for how-to videos via YouTube or Google search.
Have a leaking pipe? Have any and all leaks properly repaired prior to freezing temperatures.
If you plan on being out of town try draining your pipes. Simply shut off the water valves and turn on the faucets to clear the pipes. Having water left in them puts you at risk for busted pipes, and if no one is home you’re looking at a pretty ugly homecoming present.
If you have an irrigation system have them winterized to prevent freezing and bursting.
2. Heat Circulation
This one is so simple but often forgotten about. Reverse your ceiling fans to a clockwise spin to ensure there’s efficient heat circulation. By doing so your fan will help push the warm air downwards to make the room feel warmer.
3. Chimney Care
Remember all those warm and cozy nights spent by the fire last year? If you want more of those be sure to care for your chimney. Soot (creosote) buildup along the chimney walls can be a fire hazard. To ensure that your chimney is properly cleared of any blockages consider calling in the professionals. Better safe than sorry!
4. Roof Check
Check the roof to ensure the shingles are properly intact. You don’t want to take the chance of water getting through and having an even larger disaster on your hands.
5. Gutter Blockage
This is something you want to stay on top of year round, but it never hurts to throw in a reminder. Be sure to unclog your gutters of any debris such as leaves, sticks, and that random acorn that Steve the Squirrel decided to place there.
Double check that the gutters are securely fastened to hold up to the weather conditions. It’s also not a bad idea to make sure the downspouts are flowing away from the house as well as side walks.
6. Window Gaps
Over time windows and doors tend to get gaps around the edges. Inspect the caulk and weatherstripping so the cold air stays out and the warm stays in.
7. Tree Tuneup
If your yard has trees be sure to keep the limbs trimmed up and away from the house. Ice can build up on the limbs causing them to break and potentially go through the roof. Living in a tree house may sound like a fun idea but I don’t think you want to partake in that adventure during the winter.
Have your heating and cooling systems serviced to optimize efficiency. Doing so will help you save on your heating bills. Keep the air return filters clean and properly installed.
9. Test the Detectors
Double, even triple, check your fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors are properly working and in full operation. If they have batteries stock up on extra to have on hand in case the fire alarm low battery warning goes off in the middle of the night… talk about a wakeup call.
10. Emergency Kit
In case of a power outage, or ice storm, prepare an emergency kit ahead of time. Some things to include: batteries, flashlight, alternative heat (blankets, candles, firewood), battery pack charger for your cellphone- for emergencies not for Candy Crush, shovel, ice melt, snacks, water. Make your emergency kit to best serve your needs.