Home emergencies never happen when it’s most convenient. Having a home emergency during the middle of winter is not only inconvenient on your time and money, but it can mean an uncomfortable living situation until the issue is resolved!
Instead of having something break down on you, make sure to conduct a thorough checklist of your home before the cold weather hits. This way, you know your home is protected and you don’t have to conduct maintenance or fix broken drains in the freezing cold!
Here’s a comprehensive list of items every homeowner needs to have checked around their home before the winter comes:
Landscape & Lawn
- Inspect and Trim Trees and Shrubs
Fall is the best time of year to trim your trees and shrubs as they are less likely to get a disease because they are going into dormancy. It’s also easier to see the branches once the leaves have fallen off. Look for signs of disease and trim any dead or damaged branches. If you are looking to preserve annual plants and extra-fragile trees, consider pruning and also laying down a new layer of mulch. Pruning and mulching will help your plants survive through the freezing months and also prevent premature blooming. Not to mention, it makes them look nice!
- Make Sure Leaves Are Raked
Leaving leaves on the ground over the winter can cause dead spots in your spring lawn. They tend to get matted down and block out the sun and rain,choking the grass beneath them.
- Lawn Mower Maintenance
Winterize your lawn mower! Add fuel stabilizer to a full tank of fuel, lubricate the engine and moving parts, cleaning the mower of any trapped grass and dirt, and sharpen the blade to make sure your lawn mower is in mint condition come spring.
- Blow Out Your Sprinkler System
If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is winterized by blowing it out yourself or hiring a professional lawn and landscape company. Any water left in the underground pipes can freeze and burst the pipes, resulting in expensive repairs come spring.
- Clean Gutters
It’s okay to wait until late November to do this because most of the leaves will have fallen by then. Clogged gutters can cause serious problems in the winter especially if they freeze and cause water to back up under your shingles or siding, causing leaks and water damage.
- Remove or Cover Window A/C Units
If you use window air conditioning units in the summer, remove them before the weather turns cold. If you must leave them in place, cover the exterior with an insulating wrap to keep the cold air out.
- Remove Hoses from Outdoor Faucets
Make sure all hoses are removed and stored inside and all faucets are turned off to avoid busted pipes, or worse, flooding indoors.
- Seal Gaps
Check your home for gaps around windows and doors where critters and cold air can enter. Use caulk and weather stripping to make sure they are sealed. Doing this can not only prevent unwanted drafts and critters, but also help save you some money on your electrical bill! An unlikely, but super important place to check is your shingles. Be on the lookout for missing or broken shingles, cracked caulk, or masses of moss as these can be signals that you may have a gap problem.
- Stock up on Winter Supplies
Kansas City gets pretty dicey in the wintertime. Make sure you’re stocked up on all the supplies you might need. There’s nothing worse than running to the hardware store to find they are sold out of snow shovels and ice melt products! Restock or create emergency kits for the car too. If you’re lucky enough to have a snow blower, make sure it is gassed and ready to go. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a handy-dandy checklist that will also help you prepare in case a winter emergency strikes! You can find this checklist here.
- Check Safety Devices
Before the fireplace is roaring and the furnace is keeping your home warm, change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This will help keep your family safe and will give you peace of mind.
- Clean Dryer Vents
Lint buildup in dryer vents not only reduces efficiency but can cause fires. Make sure you unplug the dryer first or turn off the gas, if it’s a gas dryer, as a safety precaution.
- Schedule a Chimney Cleaning and Furnace Tune-Up
These jobs are important, but best left to the professionals. Both of these are important to make sure you home is free of carbon monoxide dangers. They will also help prevent fires.
4. Clean Your Home’s Ductwork
The average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dust, dirt, and allergens in its air ducts each year. Have yours cleaned before warm air is flowing through those ducts and out into your home!