Yes, we’re still in the glory of early fall, and it’s a truly wonderful time of year in New England. But, we wouldn’t be New Englanders if we didn’t have the season encroaching in the back of our minds as we’re preparing for winter. We know how some winters can be pleasant as can be, and others can be nothing short of hell (1978, 2015).
However, it’s never too early to start preparing for winter. Your home has needs that must be met before the winter sets in upon us and the tasks, fixes, and services become that much harder to perform.
In this article, we are going to discuss the ways in which you can begin preparing for winter and get your house in the best situation as possible to deal with whatever elements the harsh season throws at us. Fingers crossed it’s an easy one, but always prepare for a hard one!
Service Your Home’s Heating And Air Conditioning Systems
The LAST situation you want to find yourself in during a snowy cold winter day is having your heating system not work. Imagine this, your family is over for Christmas dinner, and the heating system breaks. It’s 20 degrees outside at 7 pm, and you have no heat.
You can save yourself the panic attack and lofty emergency service bill this situation would produce if you have your heating system checked out BEFORE the hard weather sets in.
Most residential heating systems will last anywhere from 10-20 years. This vast spread in expected lifespan has to do with how well maintained the heating systems are. At the bare minimum, you’ll want to have your filters changed in your HVAC system. But, it’s best to have an HVAC inspector come and run diagnostics on the system to ensure that it will last through another winter. This is the first precaution you should take when preparing for winter.
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Check Your Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that over 52,000 fires between 2012-2016 were caused by heating equipment.
As the weather gets colder and more heating equipment is used in the winter months, all fire detectors must be working properly. Replace fire alarm batteries when the units begin to chirp. And replace any fire detectors that are more than ten years old.
The CDC estimates that at least 430 people die in the U.S each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s just as important to replace and keep your CO detectors up to date. When home heating systems are on for extended hours in the winter, the risk of CO poisoning increases.
Preparing for Winter Outside the Home – Gutters And Drainage
A standard requirement of a thorough late-fall cleanup is making sure your gutters are clear of debris and fallen leaves.
If your gutters are full of waste going into the winter, they may not drain properly, which can lead to water pooling and overflowing. When water overflows from your gutters it can get into your roof or even cause issues for your home’s foundation.
While cleaning out your gutter for the last time of the season, also check how your drainage systems are functioning. If the water around your gutter’s downspouts is pooling close to your home, the saturated soil could become a big problem in the winter.
Saturated soil that sits too close to the foundation can freeze and thaw throughout the winter, creating hazardous conditions for your home’s foundation.
Check The Trees Near Your House
It’s great to enjoy the lush greens and deep oranges of leaves in the spring and fall around your home. But sometimes, homeowners do not pay enough attention to the trees on their property, and their house can end up suffering for it.
Sick trees or even healthy trees that are in too close in proximity to your home can fall and cause significant damage during the harsh months of winter.
Preparing for winter means taking precautionary measures for what COULD happen, not necessarily will happen. But when it comes to a tree crushing your roof, car, or in the worst-case scenario, injuring a family member, it’s better to have the tree removed before winter sets in.
Go around your yard and look for trees that are sickly, elderly, or too close to your home. Hire a tree and landscaping professional to access whether the tree is jeopardizing the well-being of your home. Remove any trees that may cause issues over the winter.
Preparing For Winter
Preparing for winter is all about saving yourself trauma and headaches. It’s much easier to deal with issues in the warmer months than in the cold and unforgiving months of winter.