How to Be Ready for Whatever Winter Sends Your Way

How to Be Ready for Whatever Winter Sends Your Way

Will your home be ready if Old Man Winter suddenly sends a blizzard to your neck of the woods? When the temperature drops and the winds are howling, you want your home to be a haven from the elements -- and not a drain on your resources. Here’s how to make sure you have a cozy, safe retreat no matter what’s happening outdoors.

Pre-Winter Basics

In anticipation of harsh weather, there are some simple preparations you can make, and on top of that they can save you money and energy use. Consider installing vinyl window frames and a more energy-efficient electrical system. Fiberglass doors require little maintenance in the wintertime since there’s no need for repainting chipped areas caused by the weather.

The condition of your roof is a huge factor come wintertime. Make sure to check the roof for damage, large and small, including loose or missing shingles. A weary roof is susceptible to leaks and even collapse after a winter storm, as the freeze-thaw cycle can wreak havoc in even the smallest crevices. A sturdy roof also goes a long way towards increasing the resale value of your home, so consider such repairs or replacement as an investment if you’re looking to sell in the near future.

Now is also a good time to have your gutters cleaned. This can prevent ice dams from forming, which can lead to gutter damage, loose shingles and interior damage. While you might have a plan to attack this once you get your first snow, having clean gutters from the start will make this job easier. Cleaning like this is best left to professionals, so conduct a search for rain gutter cleaning near me to connect with top-rated local experts -- you may even find promotional offers

Along those same lines, if your thermostat is old-school, think about swapping it with a smart version. You can save big bucks with a gadget that adjusts to your habits, keeping you comfortable and warm when you’re at home and reducing energy use when you aren’t. A thermostat replacement is something any homeowner can do with just a handful of simple steps. You’ll also need to think about the heating system itself. In addition to replacing filters and any parts that aren’t working properly, look into cleaning ductwork, which aids in system efficiency, fire hazard prevention, and a cleaner, healthier air circulation.

Let It Snow!

Snow can be so beautiful, so much fun for kids, and yet so much work for homeowners. Clearing sidewalks, patios and driveways isn’t very much fun, but with a little prep work now, you can breeze through when winter arrives.

First of all, you’ll need the right equipment. If you don’t have a huge area to clear, a well-chosen snow shovel is usually sufficient. However, a bigger job calls for a snowblower since they can clear hundreds of pounds of snow quickly and easily. Look for something that is both reliable and efficient, and make sure you take care of your investment properly. points out that your snowblower will require annual maintenance, much like a lawnmower. Change the spark plugs and oil, check the belts and various parts for wear and damage, and when you gas up, add a stabilizer.

While they don’t happen often, a major blizzard could leave you without power for days, which is why some homeowners choose to have a generator installed. Installation averages range from $900 to $25,000, so you may be best off investing in a portable generator which can be used to power a major appliance (e.g., a refrigerator) and typically costs between $500 and $2,000.

Welcome Home

Going in and out of your home during winter can be messy. Boots, shovels, mittens, and the like can bring some of the outdoors in. To cope with the wet and dirt that can go hand-in-hand with winter outings, Chatelaine recommends making some adjustments to your entryway.

Plan to keep a rough mat outside the door for scraping feet, along with a boot tray inside to catch melting snow and mud. Install some hooks for coats, backpacks and other gear to keep them off the floor, as well as to allow airflow so they dry quicker. If your family works and plays in the snow quite a bit, a boot dryer could be a smart investment.

When the flakes start falling, make sure your home is ready. Make some basic adjustments, make sure you’re fully equipped, and prepare a place for everyone to come and go comfortably without making a mess. Your home will be a safe, comfortable haven for the whole family.

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