Fall weather brings much-needed relief from the heat of summer. It allows homeowners more comfortable temperatures to perform necessary maintenance on their homes. This maintenance in the Fall keeps property safe and functioning well throughout the Winter. Below, the Palace Restoration team dives into some key maintenance tips to prepare your home for winter. If you have any questions about these tips or need help with existing damage to your home, please give us a call or fill out our contact form.
OVERVIEW – 8 STEPS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR WINTER
- Check your home’s HVAC systems
- Perform maintenance on exterior wood, concrete, and masonry
- Ensure proper drainage
- Clean your gutters
- Clean your chimney
- Test smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
- Winterize your sprinklers and faucets
- Trim your trees
CHECK YOUR HOME’S HVAC SYSTEMS
With Winter on the horizon, make sure to check your heat before the weather turns for the worst. Mild weather makes Fall the best season to perform an initial startup on your furnace. In order to prepare your home for winter, it’s a good idea to start your furnace before the cold becomes overwhelming. Also, don’t forget about your cooling system. After running all summer to keep you cool, it needs to be properly maintained in the fall so it is ready for use next spring. If you’ve got a swamp cooler, this means draining the lines, cleaning the filters, and ensuring your winter cover is on. For your air conditioner, ensure the filters are clean and that the unit itself has been cleaned of all debris. Also, install an outdoor cover and ensure pipes are covered with foam to ensure they don’t freeze and break.
PERFORM MAINTENANCE ON EXTERIOR WOOD, CONCRETE, AND MASONRY
Mild weather makes Fall the best time of year to paint, caulk, and seal all exterior wood surfaces. This includes fences, wood decks, and pergolas. Properly maintaining these key structures keeps them looking nice and prolongs their life. Preparing your home for winter also means cleaning and sealing your concrete and masonry surfaces. Clean and repair all existing cracks before applying a sealer. If water gets into these cracks it will freeze and expand causing the cracks to grow throughout the winter.
ENSURE PROPER DRAINAGE
Over time, the soil around your foundation can settle and allow water and snow to build up. This condensation creates bigger problems over time because it can crack your foundation. Homeowners easily avoid this issue by searching around their homes for low spots and filling them in with more dirt to ensure moisture slopes away from the home. Also, ensure your gutter downspouts keep the soil around your foundation as dry as possible.
CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
As fall draws to an end, trees shed their remaining leaves for the season. They fall everywhere, including on your roof and in your gutters. These small leaves can cause big problems if they backup your gutters. Clogged gutters cause water to overflow and end up in undesirable places. As you prepare your home for Winter, gutters that aren’t properly cleaned of debris lead to ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. This water backs up and leaks into walls, ceilings, and insulation. To clean your gutters, remove all debris from them and flush them out with a hose. This ensures all blockages are cleared from the downspouts and water can freely move away from your home.
CLEAN YOUR CHIMNEY
Many homeowners overlook the need to inspect and clean their chimneys every year. This step is crucial as you prepare your fireplace for the colder months. Creosote builds up inside your chimney and can create a highly combustible chemical coating that explodes and burns at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees. Avoid a fire damage restoration claim by ensuring your chimneys are cleaned and inspected annually.
TEST SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
Winter creates a perfect environment for house fires. Homeowners light fires and use their furnaces daily to stay warm. Ensure your home’s and family’s safety by testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke detectors ensure you quickly become aware of dangerous fires. Carbon monoxide detectors protect your family from an odorless gas that kills several hundred people per year according to the CDC. Homeowners find that their furnace and their hot water heater are necessary for the winter, but they are also the most likely sources for CO in the home.
WINTERIZE YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM AND FAUCETS
Your sprinkler system keeps your yards green over the summer, but it must be properly winterized after the growing season ends. A water line from inside your home likely feeds your sprinkler valves on the outside of your home. Failure to properly winterize your system leads not only to broken lines and valves outside, it can lead to extensive damage inside the home as well. If the water freezes in your line coming into your house, a line can burst flooding your home and causing extensive water damage. Learn how to properly winterize your sprinkler system here.
TRIM YOUR TREES
As we enter fall, take note of your trees. Locate branches that appear to be dying and don’t have any leaves. These types of branches create hazards for your property and your neighbor’s property. With heavy winds in the fall and heavy snow on the way, these dead branches are at risk of breaking. When they break, they can land on a home or fence or other pieces of property and cause damage. In order to prevent this from happening, trim your dead branches from your trees.
In addition to providing these tips, Palace Restoration also specializes in mitigation, remediation, and reconstruction for: