Living in Ohio, it is important to make sure you take adequate steps to prepare your home for the winter months as sometimes they can be particularly brutal.
Below, our construction program has compiled a list of 10 steps to help winter-proof your home and save you some money in the process.
1. Clean the Gutters
Gutters, which are full of debris, back up against the house and damage roofing and wood trim.
According to this blog by Angi.com, most experts will recommend cleaning your gutters twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), but depending on how many trees are by your house, it might make sense for additional cleanings throughout the year to avoid damage.
2. Check your heating system & hot water temperature
Inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good working order before it starts getting chilly outside.
Experts recommend that consumers lower the temperature to 120 for fuel savings. By doing so, you’ll reduce the chance of accidental burns and the water will still be plenty.
3. Prevent Ice Dams
Identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your home's attic that can lead to ice dams.
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.
4. Inspect your Roof, Windows and Doors
Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter storms. Check the gaps between joints in windows, door frames, and siding.
Consult with a professional if you notice significant issues, but if it is minor, simply apply the water-resistant exterior caulk.
5. Divert Water
Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. This will prevent cracks and leaks in the foundation and will allow the water to drain away from the house.
6. Sweep your Chimney and fireplace
If you have a fireplace, prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide from creeping into your home by having your chimney swept regularly.
The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”
7. Stock up on Winter Essentials
Stock your house with these four winter essentials to make sure you are prepared:
- Salt or ice melt
- Wheeled or normal shovel
- Roof rake
8. Prune trees around the house
Remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house or your neighbor's. Not sure when to prune your trees? Check out these recommendations from Today's Homeowner:
- Non-blooming trees and shrubs: Prune in late winter while fully dormant.
- Summer-blooming trees and shrubs: Prune in late winter.
- Spring-blooming trees and shrubs: Wait until immediately after they bloom. They are the exception to the rule, but you still should prune them as early as you can.
9. clear your pipes
Make sure to drain the outside water faucets and shut them off before the first freeze to prevent freezing water in your pipes.
On very cold nights it is also suggested that consumers open cabinets beneath the sink and allow a slow drip of water to run through the faucet. This will help prevent pipes inside your house from freezing.
10. Have An emergency supply kit
If this winter is particularly bad and you lose power, you'll definitely want to make sure you are stocked up on the following items:
- Flashlights and/or candles
- Fresh batteries
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable food items
- Lot of blankets
- Bottled water
- A portable radio
- Phone number for all of your utility companies