When the last of summer’s heat fades and you find yourself pulling out hoodies more than shorts, it may be time to tackle a few simple home inspections as well.
It’s best to be proactive on prepping your home for the harsh winter months, or else you may find some unwanted surprises next spring.
Here is an easy checklist to prepare your house for snow and the cold winter months ahead.
1- Clean and Stow Away Your Lawn Mower
If you are unfamiliar with fuel stabilizer, it’s time to get to know it. If your lawnmower sits for months with gas still in its tank, the gas will start to slowly deteriorate. This deterioration can cause internal damage to the engine.
A quick top-up of Fuel Stabilizer will prevent gas from degrading.
When the seasons start to change and a lawnmower is no longer needed, top up your gas tanks with a stabilizer. This will keep your spare gas and mower in a good condition throughout the winter.
2- Clean Out Your Gutters
When your rain gutters are clogged, ice dams can form, which leads to expensive repairs.
After the leaves have fallen and the trees are bare, it’s time to clean out your gutters.
Clean your gutters by removing leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure your gutters aren’t sagging and there is no trapped water. Tighten or replace damaged gutter hangers and downspout brackets.
Lastly, If you find any colored grit from asphalt roof shingles, this is an urgent sign that your roof needs inspection as well.
If you are unsure of the condition of your gutters or need help cleaning and preparing your roof and gutters for winter, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with experts.
3- Do a Quick Roof Inspection
If you can’t remember the last time you inspected your roof, or you’ve experienced extreme weather in the past months, it may be best to take a quick look over your roof.
If you have a steep or multi-story home, stay safe, and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground. Or get a professional to inspect your roof.
Look for any small flaws or warning signs such as buckled, cracked, or missing shingles. Any loose, damaged or missing roof shingles should be replaced immediately to prevent other costly damage to the home.
Note that roof damage is not always obvious. It’s often the small unnoticeable flaws that can compromise the integrity of the home.
Doing a quick inspection before winter can prevent water damage into the home and help those heating bills from skyrocketing.
4- Check Your Furnace
Most people forget that home heating and cooling systems need an annual check-up.
To ensure that your furnace is running properly and is at its best during the winter there are some simple tune-ups you can do.
One is to change your furnace filters every two to three months.
Second, if your HVAC has a built-in humidifier, there is a filter in there that also needs to be replaced.
5- Remove Garden Hoses from Outdoor Faucets
Leaving garden hoses attached can cause the water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes inside your home. When freezing temperatures hit, that water freezes causing the pipes to expand and possibly burst.
Also, turn off any exterior shutoff valves on outdoor water supply lines. This way, your home will be protected against any minor leaks that may let water enter the external faucet.
Making these home adjustments early in the fall can help protect your home from sudden drops in temperature that can cause damage.
6- Drain Your Sprinkler System
Just like the outdoor faucets, you want to prevent your irrigation system from freezing during winter and having to replace them.
Even buried irrigation lines can freeze and lead to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
To drain your irrational system take the following steps:
- Turn off the main valve’s water system
- Shut off the automatic controller
- Open the drain valves to allow access water out of the system
- Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them
7- Seal Any Air Leaks in Your Home
Do a quick inspection of your home exterior. Take note of any cracks between siding and trims, especially in the sealing around windows and door frames and where wires enter your home.
These small cracks and gaps can allow moisture and cold air into your home. Sealing up these flaws can prevent mold damage and ensures maximum heating efficiency.
Depending on the severity of the cracks you can grab a couple of tubes of colour matching exterior caulking and seal the small leaks. For more extreme or extensive damage contact a professional to ensure your home is solid for winter.
8- Give your Fireplace and Chimney a Quick Lookover
To make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to use, grab a flashlight, and look up inside to make sure the flue is working properly.
All you need to do is make sure the damper opens and closes properly and is free of bird nests and fallen branches.
When looking up through your chimney, you should be able to see the daylight.
Don’t wait until the dead of winter to do these home checks. Especially with freezing temperatures and many inches of snow, these inspections become more dangerous and difficult to do.
Being a little proactive in the fall can help you have a much more comfortable winter. By doing these simple checks you can keep your home safe and running smoothly during the harsh winter months.