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6 House Improvements You Should Do Before Winter Begins

6 House Improvements You Should Do Before Winter Begins

6 House Improvements You Should Do Before Winter Begins

When the leaves are changing color and the weather’s getting colder, it can only mean one thing: winter’s approaching! And with winter comes rain, fog, snow, and ice. It’s important to prevent common garden damage and make sure your home’s ready for the cold weather. In this article, we’ll discuss 6 home improvements you should do before winter begins.

  1. Fix Your Windows

Window leaks can cause water damage to your walls or floors, and gaps can let in cold air, making your home feel less comfortable. Replacing worn-out weatherstripping’s an easy fix that’ll help keep your home cozy and energy-efficient. Condensation can lead to mold and mildew growth, so always clean it up immediately. Try to ventilate the affected area as much as possible, and if necessary, invest in a dehumidifier. Windows that are difficult to open and close are a hassle and can be a safety hazard if they get stuck shut during a fire.

Being in the northernmost part of Britain, Scotland has more than its fair share of chilly weather. The people who have issues with double glazing in cold Edinburgh often buy new windows that have energy efficiency, sustainability, durability, and strength. The companies who supply these often also help with doors, conservatories, and roofing products.

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2. Clean Your Gutters And Downspouts

Gutters are the horizontal channels that run along your roofline, and their purpose is to collect rainwater and funnel it away from your home. Downspouts are vertical pipes that connect to your gutters and carry water away from your foundation. If you live in an area with a lot of trees, your gutters and downspouts can get clogged with leaves pretty easily. When this happens, water can back up and cause all sorts of problems, like leaking into your attic or flooding your basement. Other issues could include insect infestation, mold growth, wood rot, and more.

It’s important to clean these out before winter starts. You can do this yourself with a ladder and a pair of gloves, or you can hire a professional gutter company to do it for you.

  1. Seal Any Cracks Or Gaps Around Your Home

Another winter prep task you should take care of is sealing any gaps or cracks around your home. These are often found around windows and doors, but they can really be anywhere. Again, water can get into these and cause problems, plus they can let the warm air escape. Some areas to check to include: fencing contractors in Sydney

  • In the attic
  • Around plumbing pipes (inside and outside)
  • Outdoor faucets
  • Dryer vents
  • Crawl spaces
  • The foundation of your home

Using caulk or weatherstripping is the answer, and it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive task. If you’re not sure how to seal something, however, there are plenty of helpful YouTube videos and articles out there. Just make sure you use the right materials for the job, so it lasts through the winter and beyond.

  1. Insulate Your Attic, Basement And Crawl Spaces

If it’s been a while since you had any new insulation installed, it might be time to add some more. Once again, a lack of insulation means you’re replacing the warm indoor air with the cold air from outside. If your furnace has to work overtime to keep your house at a comfortable temperature, it’ll shorten its life as well as waste your money. Your attic’s certainly one of the most important places to insulate. You can do this by blowing it in or laying batts or foam boards on the floor.

Your basement walls and floors should also be insulated. Make sure to seal any gaps or cracks with caulk or spray foam. If you have a crawl space, insulate the walls and floors and make sure the vents are properly sealed. You can use spray foam, rigid foam boards, or fiberglass batts for this purpose. Crawl spaces should have a vapor barrier and be well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup.

  1. Tidy Your Backyard Or Garden

If you have an outdoor space, now’s the time to start preparing it for winter. Bring in any outdoor furniture or decorations that you don’t want to get damaged by the cold weather. Make sure that the area’s clean and free of debris. This will help you enjoy your backyard or garden more when the warmer weather returns. Another important thing to do is to trim any overgrown trees or branches. This will help prevent damage to your home during winter weather. It’ll also prevent pests from gaining access to your house. 6 House Improvements You Should Do Before Winter Begins

If you have a pond, make sure the water’s clean and free of debris. Drain any hoses or sprinklers to prevent them from freezing. Cover your grill or put it in your garage or shed to save it from the elements. Bring in any potted plants that you don’t want to risk losing to the cold weather. If you have a swimming pool, make sure it’s properly covered.

  1. Upgrade Your Heating System

If your heating system’s fairly new, be sure to regularly maintain it, including cleaning or replacing the filters. Also, don’t forget to schedule regular service. If you haven’t done so in a while, it may be time to upgrade your heating system. A lot of people wait until it completely breaks down before they think about this, but that’s not the smartest move. You don’t want to be freezing cold during the winter when your heater finally decides to give up on you!

Take some time to research your options and find a new heating system that’ll keep you warm all winter long. If you install a smart thermostat, you’ll be able to save money on your energy bills, too. It’ll automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on your daily routine.

If you address the 6 areas we’ve just discussed, you’ll be well prepared for the onslaught of winter. You’ll be able to retreat from the cold weather by coming indoors and enjoying the warmth. In turn, you’ll be stewarding your home and the comfort and safety of all who live there.

Things to Keep in Mind When Gardening

Preparing for winter may not feel necessary—or even be top of mind—this time of year, but starting now will help you ensure your home is in great shape for fall and winter. If your area experiences harsh winters, create a plan for preparing your home and property now—and ensure you have a proper snow shovel—so when that first surprise freeze hits, you can rest easy.

Insulate Pipes

Any exposed pipe that runs along a wall or is in an unheated area (a basement or a crawl space, for example) is a potential hazard. The water inside can freeze and cause the pipe to burst when temperatures drop below 32 F.

“It’s easy to protect them with pipe insulation,” says Lou Manfredini, the host of HouseSmarts. “Get it at the hardware store—it looks like a giant piece of spaghetti with a slit. Cut it to fit the length of the pipe, wrap it around, then secure it with duct tape if needed.”

  1. Inspect Tree Branches

Scan your property for branches growing over the house, garage, driveway, or power lines. During a storm, those could come down and cause significant damage. Branches rubbing together can also lead to breakage.

Look for signs of dead limbs, too: dead leaves that remain attached after the rest of the tree has shed, smooth areas that are missing bark, or spots where mushrooms have sprouted. If you see anything suspicious, call an arborist for an evaluation.

  1. Clean Out Gutters

If gutters are clogged with leaves, the debris can freeze into a big, icy mass, which could get under shingles and damage the roof. Get a tall ladder and work gloves, and scoop out the debris so water can drain.

“Make sure you’re comfortable on a ladder and have a buddy to help support it,” says Manfredini. A leaf blower can speed things up, but you may still need to use your hands to finish the job. Prefer to call in a handyperson? The service typically takes about two hours.

 How to Clean Gutters

  1. Prevent Door Locks From Freezing

If you’ve ever had this problem or live in a super-cold climate, spray a little powdered-graphite lubricant into each door lock (where the key goes), then turn the key in the lock. The powder (sold at hardware stores) lubricates the pins inside the lock to prevent sticking. Do this once a season.

  1. Drain Sprinklers

If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, remove any residual water before the first freeze so it doesn’t expand and crack the pipes. Your best bet is to hire an irrigation contractor to blow out the water using compressed air.

If you prefer to try it, consult the manufacturer’s website. (Directions vary by system.) Generally, the process involves shutting off the water source, then opening the drain valves at the lowest part of the irrigation system (usually in the basement) to allow water to drain.

  1. Cut Back Perennials

It’s OK to keep some intact. Those with a pretty shape (coneflowers, ornamental grass) look nice even in winter. But most deciduous perennials—plants that shed their leaves annually (like asters, irises, and lilies)—do best with an aggressive trim, says Jennifer G. Horn, a landscape architect in Washington, D.C.

Cut plants to 2 – 3 inches above the ground using clippers or a hedge trimmer. Not only does this make your garden look tidier, but it also eliminates potential homes for harmful insects, who like to hide out, then surface during spring growth.

  1. Mulch Flower Beds

Sometime before the coldest winter temps hit, add a layer of hardwood mulch to all your flower beds. “Mulching at this time of year helps regulate changes in soil temperature,” says Horn. The mulch acts as insulation, buffering the plants from brutally low temperatures to come. Without it, roots are vulnerable to significant damage, and the plants could die.

  1. Block Drafts

Hold a lit candle along each windowsill and baseboard. See it flicker? That signals a draft. For each draft that you eliminate, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency, says Manfredini.

For baseboards, clean and dry the area with a paper towel. Then, using white or clear paintable caulking, fill gaps between the trim and the floor with an even bead. Smooth with a wet finger, then remove the excess with a damp cloth. To seal drafty windows and doors, use draft stoppers like weather stripping (around the frame) or window-film kits (over the glass; both are available at hardware stores).

  1. Get the Fireplace Cleaned

If you use a wood-burning fireplace more than six times a year, you should have it professionally cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep annually. Otherwise, built-up creosote and soot can ignite, says Paul Sullivan of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers. An inspection every three years is sufficient if you rarely use your fireplace or have a gas one (cleaner burning than wood).

  1. Have the Furnace Checked

At the beginning of winter, hire an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) contractor to ensure your furnace or boiler operates safely and efficiently.

“The pro will pull apart the burners, inspect all the contacts and sensors, and replace the filter,” says Manfredini. To keep the appliance running well, inspect the filter monthly (it slides in) and replace it when it turns brown or black. Stick with a pleated version with more particle-trapping surface area than a flat filter.

6 House Improvements You Should Do Before Winter Begins

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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