Check your roof
The weight of snow on a damaged roof can quickly spell trouble. Any damaged area can also be an easy way for water to slowly seep into your home causing water damage, mildew, mold, and other problems. Have your roof inspected for weak spots and leaks. Have them repaired to prevent further damage to your home and keep water on the outside.
Inspect your bricks
Inspect your bricks and foundation for damage. Water can seep into cracks and freeze. This ice can quickly damage your walls and foundation allowing the process to repeat causing further damage. Take the time to check for cracks now and fill or seal them to protect your foundation from damage.
Clean the gutters
Removing debris from gutters allows melting snow and ice to drain away from your home, protecting your house from water damage. Make sure to check your gutters for structural damage and repair any problem areas. The weight of snow and ice can damage gutters that are in need of repair. Take the time to prevent further damage and fix them before the snow comes.
Install gutter covers
After taking the time to clean and repair your gutters, consider purchasing gutter guards to keep debris out. The fall season often means falling leaves that can quickly pile up in your gutters. This could mean repeated cleaning to keep your drainage system working properly. While you have the gutters clean and the ladder out, install gutter covers and keep water away from your home.
Maintain your trees
Snow, ice, and winter wind can do a lot of damage to trees. The weight of snow and ice can break weakened branches causing damage to your house, your car, or anyone walking by. Trim dead branches from your trees and from high risk areas such as your driveway and next to your house. This not only protects you from risk but helps the tree to grow back stronger and prevents disease.
Repair handrails and steps
Handrails, steps, and walkways are important all year-long. During the snow season, slippery walk ways can make even short distances perilous. Make sure to repair any damage to your walk ways and seal cracks to prevent further damage from expanding ice. Make sure handrails are properly secured as well. Make sure to keep plenty of ice melt on hand and a good snow shovel to keep walk ways clear and safe.
Seal cracks and openings
Make sure all cracks and openings for ventilation and pipes are sealed to prevent water from seeping in. Drafts can also be a problem with any open area. Freezing water can also expand in gaps causing damage to foundations. During the cold months, bugs look for any place warm and any gap big enough for them to get through is an invitation to move in as well. Make sure to take the time to inspect your house for any potential gaps that need sealed. Use caulk or foam sealant to quickly and inexpensively seal any openings.
Winter Proof Your Interior
Seal all doors and windows to prevent drafts
Make sure all doors and windows are properly sealed and insulated against water and wind. Cover windows with clear plastic to allow sunlight in for warmth while blocking cold air from leaking in through the exposed glass. Check weather-stripping as well for cracks, tears, and other problems and replace as necessary. Use a candle to check for leaks and fill with caulk or other sealants to block cold drafts from increasing your heating bills.
Use insulated curtains
If wrapping your windows in plastic is unattractive or to unconventional for you, consider purchasing insulated curtains. These can protect your home from drafts while remaining stylish and unobtrusive. If a warm day comes along, they are much easier to open to allow fresh air in to your home as well.
Clean your chimneys
Make sure to clean your chimneys to prevent clogs and potential fire risks. If you're not going to be using your fireplace, make sure to keep it sealed off to prevent drafts and heat from escaping. Keep the area around your fireplace clear of potential fire hazards and make sure to check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher just in case.
Keep your house warm
Making sure your house stays within a certain temperature range is especially critical in the cold winter months. Bursting pipes are common this time of year and the best way to prevent this catastrophic problem from occurring is maintaining a consistent temperature throughout your house. Remember, the temperature in your walls and basement is considerably colder than the rest of your house so keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Add more insulation
Attics, basements, and crawl spaces are especially draining on your heating system and your wallet. Add more insulation in these areas to keep your heat inside your house and the cold air out. This can also help protect pipes from bursting and flooding your house causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
The risk of fires increases dramatically during the winter months. Make sure to test your smoke detectors and replace the batteries. A good rule of thumb is to have a smoke detector in every bedroom as well as at least one smoke detector per floor of your home. Produced by heating systems and fireplaces, carbon monoxide is also a major concern. Clogged vents can lead to high levels of this odorless gas that can incapacitate and even kill. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector to alert you of any potential dangers and protect your family.
Clean your heating systems
Have a certified heating specialist clean your heater to prevent clogs and potential fires. Make sure to change your filters regularly and have your vents cleaned as well. This can increase heating efficiency which helps to lower your heating costs. Clean vents prevent allergy problems as well by removing dust and allergen build up.
Wrap your pipes and know your shut-offs
Check your pipes for damage and leaks that could lead to weak spots if pressure builds up. Wrap your pipes with insulation to protect them from freezing and install a pressure release valve to prevent damage to your system from freezing. Know where your shut-off valves are in case your pipes do burst. Make sure they are accessible and your family knows where to find them.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7342703
Don't wait until winter hits before taking out this checklist and making sure you have taken all the necessary precautions for your home and family this season. When the worst of the weather comes knocking at your door, you'll be glad you did. And always keep us in mind for all your home improvement needs!
3810 Clemmons Road
Clemmons, North Carolina 27012