I know it’s hard to believe, but chances are there was frost on your windshield this morning when you got up to go to work… right?
What seems like just a few days ago – the 90-degree weather, sounds of kids splashing around in the pool and the smells of BBQ on hot summer days – are already in the rearview mirror.
Instead, those sites and sounds have been replaced with burnt orange leaves, shorter days and cold mornings. The BBQ smells have subsided to the aroma of hot chocolate and campfires.
Whether you can’t wait to embrace the cold weather, or you’re already hoping it was springtime, one thing stands true:
Your house needs to be ready for the winter!
This is why I decided to put together this checklist to help you prepare your exterior home for the harsh winter months!
How to Prepare Your Exterior Home for The Winter!
Ever seen a house that hasn’t been lived in for a few months?
The overall appearance is almost obvious to every onlooker when a house becomes unoccupied. This phenomenon is caused by the lack of regular, routine maintenance throughout the year.
However, winter is the time of the year when you see small problems become big ones. So be sure to use this list below to make sure your home is ready for the winter months!
➡️Want to learn more about home care? Be sure to check out our Pressure Washing & Home Cleaning Blog here!
1. Clean your gutters.
Don’t think those leaves in your gutter are that important?
Well if that happens to be you, there is a chance you might be changing your tune in the event of a frozen clog during the winter months!
Leaves and other debris can build up in your gutters, especially around the mouth of the downspout, causing water to pool. On extremely cold days this water can freeze and weaken the integrity of your seamless gutter.
Paired with a big snowstorm, it doesn’t take much for gutters to come crumbling down- keeping gutter companies busy all spring!
Always be sure to clean your gutters or at least them have inspected! As a bonus, if you happen to use us not only will we clean your gutters – we can take care of #5 below for you too!
2. Look for cracks & seal them up!
A twenty-minute exterior inspection of your home can save you thousands in the long run.
Be sure to always check the areas around your doors and windows where moisture and cool air can enter. When necessary, be sure to caulk and seal these areas so that moisture does not penetrate your home.
3. Winterize your outdoor spickets
I will never forget the time I thought I thought I heard running water in my neighbor’s backyard. As I peeked around the corner and simultaneously stepped in a puddle of water, I was shocked to see my neighbor’s hot tub pipe had burst!
He had forgotten to winterize his pipes!
Whether you have a hot tub or not, chances are you have outdoor spickets. Be sure to turn the water off to your outdoor spickets and always leave the spickets halfway open. This allows any existing water in the pipes to drain!
4. Double-check drainage around your home.
Speaking of drainage – be sure to make sure all the drainage around your home is appropriately functioning.
This can mean checking downspouts and low spots in your yard where water can possibly pool around your foundation.
Why is this important?
Water that enters a foundation can cause your foundation to crack when it freezes! That is a huge problem!
5. Inspect your roof!
It’s time to hit the roof… with some binoculars at least.
While getting up on your roof to put Christmas lights on it is one thing, considering the dangers associated with climbing up on your roof, it might be a good idea to call an expert exterior company.
Either way, be sure to inspect your roof in some capacity. Be on the lookout for:
- Missing shingles
- Possible holes
- Large debris
Did you know: The winter season is a great time to get the roof of your home washed. Mother Nature is highly active and one of the techniques of our roof wash process is leveraging Mother Nature’s moisture!
6. Deadwood mature trees
In the case you have mature trees around your home, be sure to deadwood your trees each fall and early winter.
This is essential for protecting not only your home but your family.
During the winter months, high winds, ice, and heavy snow can increase the likelihood of branches and trees (Especially dead ones) coming down. And branches/trees have no regard for your house.
Get in the habit of trimming the dead branches on the trees around your home and be sure to have an arborist inspect your trees every few years. There is no sense in keeping dead trees around!
7. Trim back bushes and ornamentals
While trimming the branches on your trees might be a little more complicated… trimming back ornamental grasses and your bushes are pretty simple!
Not only does this promote spring growth, but the clean look also adds curb appeal and allows you to see any potential issues around your home that may have been hidden by the summer foliage!
Additionally, this will prevent leaves and branches from ending up in spots where you don’t want them (Like your gutters).
8. Check your heating
Be sure to check your thermostat and heating system prior to the winter season.
The last thing you want to happen is for your heating system to be improperly functioning when temperatures drop into the 20’s! Similar to checking your air conditioning unit each spring, be sure to check your furnace, and vents, and replace your furnace filter!
9. Cover your outdoor furniture
Want to increase the life of your outdoor patio furniture, grill, and decorations?
Bring them in every winter, or at the very least, cover them up!
It’s a simple thing to do, but preserving the life of your patio furniture and outdoor decorations is essential to saving you money long-term. The wear and tear from the harsh winter conditions can shorten the life of just about anything – especially your patio furniture!
Just look at the damage your grill cover endures in a single winter. Imagine if your grill didn’t have that cover!
Tips for storing your outdoor furniture:
- If possible, bring your furniture inside to the garage, a shed, or a basement
- Second best scenario- store your furniture under your deck or a covered area
- If storing outside, cover with patio furniture covers
- It doesn’t hurt to also consider cleaning your deck!
10. Check your chimney!
Make sure before you ever burn something in your chimney you inspect your fireplace.
As a Kiplinger article puts it this way;
“That will prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide from creeping into your home. Search for a sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. You can expect to pay $50 to $90 for a chimney inspection!”
11. Bonus: Reverse Your Fans!
If you have ceiling fans, check and see if it is possible to reverse the direction in which they spin.
Now in the case, you can reverse your ceiling fan flow, this will create an updraft that pushes the heat back down!
This is an excellent tip for those exceptionally tall ceilings found in foyers and living room areas! Save money on your heating bill by pushing down the ceiling heat to where you actually need it!
Remember… heat rises!
Be sure to think of your home as more than just an investment but also your home!
Taking care of your home shouldn’t be a burden if done correctly. One Saturday each spring and winter is the difference in keeping your home in tip-top shape… or not.
Like those vacant properties you sometimes see that look like they fell apart overnight, always take care of the little problems if you have them each winter!
Be sure to reach out if you need any help! We might not be able to help in every area, but we can kindly point you in the right direction if needed!
~Tyler – Bright Exterior Cleaning
Commercial Business Owner?