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Home Maintenance | Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

Posted at 10/01/2018 12:01 PM by Pat O'Connor

As the temperatures start to drop, it's time to start thinking about the colder months and how your house will be impacted. Keeping the outside of your home protected is critical to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Fluctuating temperatures, falling leaves and diminishing hours of daylight are all signaling it’s time to get ready for the sub-freezing temperatures that come with fall and winter. If you've been postponing improvements to the exterior of your home, now's the time to start addressing those details before it gets too cold. Accessorizing your home to withstand the snow, wind and cold is vital in keeping the inside toasty warm.

Start a home maintenance checklist that helps your home handle the changes of the seasons. It’s prudent to start examining your house, top to bottom, starting on the roof.

Investigate Roof, Gutters, Chimney

If possible, do a thorough inspection of the roofing material to make sure there aren’t any loose or missing shingles or tiles. Even a few missing tiles can allow moisture to seep in and cause damage. Asphalt shingle roofs typically last 15-18 years so if your roof is older than that, you may want to consider replacing it.

While you’re on the roof, clean the gutters. This should be done two to three times a year to prevent “dams” from developing. Leaves, pine needles, dirt and roofing debris can quickly form blockages and cause water to overflow and drain into the foundation and basement. Use a leaf blower to blast out the gutters. Also, trim any branches that are near your house.

If the downspouts are clogged, force a water hose through the opening to dislodge the stoppage. Make sure all the downspouts are directing the water at least six feet from the foundation and that any pooling is well away from the house.

Owners of two-story homes or houses with a steep pitched roof should consider bringing in a professional to clean the gutters and examine the roofs. A fall off your roof can ruin your perfectly planned ski adventures. Many companies will also clean windows at the same time they are attending to the gutters. Having sparkly, spotless windows come in handy when viewing those snowflakes once they start flying.

Finally, if you have a chimney, make sure it has a cover. Animals have been known to explore the nooks and crannies, and may cause trouble. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you have the chimney professionally cleaned at least every other year. You may want to consider cleaning it yearly should the fireplace be used frequently. Also, if the stone/brickwork on the chimney is starting to show signs of wear, consider sealing the cracks to prevent further damage, especially with frequent freezing and thawing.

winter maintenence denver

Disengage Hoses, Blow out Sprinkler Systems

Those flowers of yours are probably in the process of dying so you no longer need to water them. Remember to disconnect all your hoses and store appropriately. Failure to do so can freeze pipes, causing indoor plumbing damage. Make sure the hoses are untangled, allowed them to drain properly. While taking care of the hoses, clean out your flower beds and garden, Consider fertilizing and spreading a fine layer of leaves on the soil so the ground is ready in the spring for new plants. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure the system is blown-out and turned off for the season.

Inspect Siding/Eaves/Soffits

Now is a good time to check the siding of your house. Check for cracks or holes in stucco, loose siding/shingles and whether the paint is beginning to peel or weather. It still isn’t too late to make repairs before it gets too cold. Many painters are less busy in the fall, and there will be plenty of warm days between now and November to get a fresh coat of paint on your house.. Also, examine the eaves and soffits for wear and tear.

winter in denver

Furnace Check

Pretty soon, you’ll hear your furnace kicking in. That means it’s time to get your furnace serviced. It’s best to be proactive when it comes to keeping your home warm this winter. A tune-up and safety inspection can be purchased for around $50 and it’s well worth it. Check for discounts through Groupon and local business directories. Also, remember to change your furnace filters at least every three months (more frequently if you have pets).

While you’re having the furnace checked, you may as well have the technician inspect your hot water heater as well. It may save a service call down the road.

Inspect Outdoor A/C Condensers

Blow out leaves and pine needles that have accumulated inside and nearby the outdoor A/C condensers. Many people believe you should cover the units in the winter to protect them from the elements. However, often mice, squirrels and other rodents can wind up taking shelter and causing damage to wiring and other components. Instead, it’s best to fashion a piece of plywood over the top the condenser to keep the snow and ice from damaging the internal mechanisms.

Weather Stripping

One of the best ways of saving energy is having proper weather stripping on your home's exterior doors. Inspect the doors and make sure you can't see a gap or daylight. If you do, apply new weather stripping to create a good seal. You also may want to check your window frames for cracks. Use a smooth finish filler to seal these gaps and paint as needed.

Firewood

If you have a wood burning fireplace, make sure you start stocking up on firewood. There is nothing worse than enduring a blizzard without the benefit of a crackling fire. There are a number of local companies that sell firewood by the cord and it’s best to take advantage of the bulk prices instead of forking over $5 every time you go to your local grocery store.

For gas burning fireplaces, it’s a good idea to have it serviced yearly. A professional will make sure the ignition is firing properly and that the gas logs are positioned properly. Make sure you have the volcanic cinders or embers to create the look of a “real” fire.

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Posted by Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.

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Topics: Home Improvement