Enjoy The Comfort Of Home By Preparing For The Winter Chill

Comfort of home - dog on chair in front of fireplace

Enjoying the comfort of home on a cold winter’s day can either be a relaxing experience, or a nightmare. Whether you are a fan of winter weather, or not, preparing your home for the winter chill is necessary to avoid those nightmare feelings. 

Preventative maintenance is a smart practice when you own a home. Spending the time to prepare for colder weather will not only help you save money, but it will provide peace of mind. 

You can even improve the resale value of your home by adding energy-efficient features. As a result, you can save money and ensure your family is safe and healthy.

Items will need to be addressed both inside and outside your home. I recommend you start outside before we are in the deepest, coldest part of winter.

Areas to evaluate outside include:

Roof

Inspect your roof for any broken, damaged, or missing shingles and flashing. Be sure there are no leaves or branches accumulating on the roof. Don’t forget to check inside your attic for evidence of water leakage that will indicate a roof issue.

Chimney

Not only do you want your chimney cleaned, but you also want to have the exterior inspected. Leaky flashing or a deteriorating crown or cap can allow water into your chimney, damaging your home. Obstructions in the chimney can occur from debris or critters that allow harmful vapors into the home. 

Gutters

While you are focused on the roof of your home, be sure to check your gutters. Before the first freeze, clean any debris and leaves from the gutters. A backed-up gutter will freeze over and cause damage to not only your roof and siding but also your home’s interior. In addition, the weight of the ice inside the gutter along with icicles can also cause damage to them.

Trees

Take a good look at the trees in your yard to determine if they need trimming so they are not hanging over your house, driveway, or fence. Branches quickly ice over in a storm. They can then snap and cause damage to your home, cars, and fences. Branches can also fall on power lines causing outages or fires.

Outdoor pipes and water features

Winterize outdoor pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting. In addition, outdoor spigots, sprinkler systems, ponds, pools, and other outdoor lines need attention to prevent damage. Also, you need to know the location of your emergency water shut-off valve if you have a leak.

Outdoor Plants

Some of your outdoor plants may need some special attention to make it through the cold winter. First, check the types of plants in your yard to determine what they need to survive the colder temperatures. Some types of plants may need wrapping, covered, or mulched. If you want to save potted plants, you should bring them indoors before temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sidewalks

For your safety, the safety of your family, delivery drivers, or guests, keep your sidewalks clear of ice and snow. Check with your municipality for snow removal requirements. For example, some municipalities dictate that owners or tenants are responsible for cleaning the exterior walks and possibly even fire hydrants. Depending on when the snow stops falling, these requirements may also be time-sensitive. Failure to meet these requirements may be finable.

Driveways

Keeping your driveways clear of snow and ice is also a necessity. Parking in a driveway with accumulated snow is not only a personal safety issue, but it can damage your vehicle as well. As you expose the underside of your car to moisture, it can cause rusting. When the snow melts and refreezes, you can also have issues with safety. The melting and freezing snow can damage the driveway widening cracks as the ice expands.

Now that the outside has been taken care of, you can move inside to handle some additional items to ensure you and your household members remain comfortable throughout the winter.

Smoke & CO Detectors

You should check your smoke & CO detectors every six months and replace the battery. Many find the daylight savings time change an excellent time to schedule this task. However, if you do not have that as a regular maintenance item for your home, be sure to check them now. Carbon monoxide is tasteless and odorless but can be deadly. Also, check the municipality requirements for smoke & CO detectors and the placement required throughout the home. 

Fireplace

We discussed having the chimney inspected on the outside of the home. You also want to have the fireplace inspected from the inside. Wood burning fireplaces and gas fireplaces can both pose issues to personal safety, and you should have them both checked. If you are using a wood-burning fireplace, be sure the wood is dried correctly and appropriate for burning in a fireplace. Creosote build-up in your chimney is the cause of many house fires.

Window & Doors

You can lose a lot of your heat through poorly insulated windows and doors. According to the energy.gov website, it is possible to lose 25%-30% of residential heating and cooling through windows. Some solutions to improve energy efficiency include caulking or weatherstripping around window seals and door frames, insulated window coverings, or allowing sunlight in during the day then covering windows at night.

Heating System

Maintaining a comfortable temperature is crucial to the comfort of home. A poorly maintained heating system can cost you more money to heat your home as well. Having an annual inspection of your heating system will prevent surprises from occurring in the dead of winter. Carbon monoxide can be emitted from gas furnaces. Proper maintenance of your furnace can avert this danger.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can help save heating costs. Programming the thermostat to lower while you are not at home or sleeping will prevent you from heating your home when you are not there or snuggled under blankets sleeping. You can set the temperature to rise before you arrive home or wake in the morning.

Boot Station

Creating a designated place for everyone to take off their wet shoes and boots as they enter the home will save you from having to clean up snow and ice melt from your floors. The deicing materials brought in on shoes can damage the flooring. Create a simple spot with a boot tray or rug to place boots and shoes.

Your winterization would not be complete without gathering supplies you should have on hand. Some items to consider having on hand include:

Snow Shovel

Snow shovels come in many styles. Be sure your snow shovel is sturdy and in good repair before the first snowfall. The prices and materials of snow shovels vary greatly. Be sure to choose one that is easy for you to use and gets the job done!

Ice Melter

There are many types of ice melting products on the market. Choose one that will not damage your sidewalks and driveway. If you have pets, you may also consider a pet-friendly product that does not irritate your pet’s paws when they walk on it.

Ice Scraper

If you own a car, you need to have an ice scraper and snow brush in the car during the winter. You need to remove the snow and ice from your vehicle for the safety of yourself and others.

Flashlights

If you have a power outage, you will need some light. Although our cell phones have flashlights built into them, you will use up a lot of the battery using that as your light source. So buy some emergency flashlights and batteries to have on hand. 

Back-up Cell Battery

An external power bank is a good idea to have ready. If power outages due to storms are widespread, it can take some time to restore the power. You can keep your cell phone and other electronics charged with a power bank.

Water

Having a supply of water on hand is a good idea. You may need water for drinking, cooking, and even flushing toilets.

Pantry Items

Having some easy-to-prepare pantry items can be a lifesaver. For example, you can eat canned foods such as tuna, vegetables, and fruit without cooking. Other things you may want to have on hand include peanut butter, crackers, cereal, juices, and granola. 

Maintaining the comfort of home is well worth the effort to complete preventative maintenance. Not only will you save yourself the stress of dealing with an emergency, but you will also save yourself money by not paying for expensive emergency repairs. 

You may be dreaming of warmer weather. Now that your home is ready for winter, you can start thinking about your outdoor space for spring and summer. Check out this previous blog post to spark your ideas.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I like to help my clients with helpful tips and accumulated knowledge. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected]

Charles D'Allesandro

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