TopInstallers presents 11 steps to help prepare your house for the winter season

While these suggestions mirror a number of posts across the web, the key to surviving winter maintenance is to be well prepared before the holiday season begins.  Most winter priorities deal with colder weather, rain and water, ice and snow to help ensure you are ready for those inevitable visits from family and friends.

  1. Driveway – seal any cracks and ensure that your driveway drainage is working well.  Freezing water that leaks under your driveway can cause other cracks and frost heaves that will be more expensive to repair in the spring.
  2. Roof – clear away moss and debris and check to ensure that you don’t have any rotten shingles or cracked tiles.  Snow and ice can peel a problem roof away in the winter and leak repairs during a storm are not fun (or sometimes not even possible).
  3. Skylights – check for any water damage stemming from leaks on the inside of your home and check the flashing if possible to prevent issues when the snow or heavy wind/rain arrives.
  4. Siding – look for any broken or missing siding and ensure that there are no other areas where windblown rain could enter.  Also check lower base siding to ensure there is no rot or water damage;  capillary action and water splashing can allow water to gather near your foundation.
  5. Gutters and downspouts – leaves and other fall debris can clog gutters and allow water to pool.  Freezing water can cause icicles to form in dangerous areas too…if you are putting up x-mas lights, you have an excellent opportunity to check and clean your gutters at the same time.
  6. Fireplace – You’ll be using your wood fireplace more than usual so ensure it has been inspected and cleaned to schedule.  Check flashing and top caps on the outside of your chimney too.  If you have a gas or electric fireplace, ensure you dust it to save that “beginning of season” smell when it warms up the first time.  Don’t forget to stock-up on gel if you have an alcohol fireplace ;)
  7. Kitchen – to pull off entertaining nights with family and friends, you need to check you stove / range and key appliances.  Nothing is worse than planning a big turkey dinner or roast only to find that your stove’s thermostat went when you last cleaned it.
  8. Walkways (and sidewalks) – most cities have bylaws around keeping your sidewalk and a walkway clear to your home.   Everyone should take extra care when walking on potentially icy surfaces, but you can help by making sure you have a shovel and some salt or kitty litter on hand to add some grip.  Check your outdoor and pathway lighting (and replace old bulbs) to ensure that your guests can see their way towards your home.
  9. Basement and crawlspace foundation – check for cracks, leaks or foundation issues
  10. Look for ways to save energy – replace weather-stripping, use storm windows or calk drafty windows,  look for drafts in your chimney too where the downdraft might be warped or stuck open.  Or as my mom always used to say, “put on a sweater!”
  11. Decks and patios should be cleaned and debris should be removed to avoid and standing water that could cause rot.  Patio furniture should be covered or stored indoors, and any clay pots should be cleaned.

There’s lots more advice on but the list above is a great start to preparing for the winter season.

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