Soon, it will be time to trade in our short sleeves and flip-flops for warm sweaters and boots. Whether or not you're ready to believe it, winter is not that far away, which means now is the perfect time to make sure you're ready.
Although we commonly protect ourselves from the cruel elements of winter, we don't always remember to give our homes the same attention.
The winter can wreak havoc on our homes--but your local real estate agent can help advise you on the areas of your home to focus on and protect you from the cold. Your agent can also give you the names and contact information of trustworthy contractors who can assist you in your winter home-protection endeavors.
Here are some easy steps to you can take to help ensure your home is prepared for keeping Old Man Winter at bay:
Your Furnace - Have it checked. Call your HVAC professional to come out and evaluate the functioning of your furnace and change the filter if needed.
Your Gutters - Clean all leaves and other debris from your gutters and downspouts before the first winter storm of the season. Avoiding the formation of ice dams is crucial in allowing snow and ice that is melting to have an escape route from the roof.
Your Fireplace - Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned. Ensure the damper is permitting the proper air movement, and have all leftover residue and soot eradicated, to avoid the potential of it catching on fire.
Piping - Have any and all exposed piping insulated. And when the temperatures really drop, leave a small stream of water running from an interior faucet to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
Hoses and Spigots - Make sure all exterior water spigots are turned off. Drain and remove hoses to store them for the winter.
Disconnects and Shut-Off Valves - Be sure you are aware of the location of all disconnects and shut-off valves for your home. These include water, gas and electricity. In case of an emergency you will need to shut off the source of the problem.
Your Foundation - Check your foundation for cracks. Repair and seal (or have a professional repair and seal) any cracks to help prevent air drafts and prevent the cracks from worsening.
Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Monitors - Be sure they are all in working order. Have back-up batteries on hand if they are not hard-wired.
Emergency Kit - Have an emergency winter kit packed and stored somewhere in your home. The kit should include candles, matches, batteries, nonperishable foods, bottled water, emergency phone numbers and a small first-aid kit.
Driveways and Walkways - Keep driveways and walkways free of snow and ice. Pre-salt if needed, and shovel as necessary. Be aware that some local laws state that homeowners are responsible for keeping the sidewalks in front of their homes shoveled to keep them free for schoolchildren and pedestrians.
Ceiling Fans - Reverse your interior ceiling fans to counterclockwise. This will stop cold air from being pulled up, and will help warm air circulate more.
Insulation - Assess the insulation in your attic, garage and crawl space. Ensure there is an appropriate amount and that it is properly intact.
Now that you have a handy checklist of winter home preparation tips, it's time to call your realtor. He or she will provide you with a list of trusted and reputable companies in your area to assist you in accomplishing these items.
Even though we cannot always predict what Jack Frost has in store for us from year to year, we can take precautions to protect ourselves, as well as our precious homes!