How To Protect Your Home’s Exterior This Winter

file0001523605876As we wrap ourselves in coats, mittens and scarves, bracing ourselves for winter weather, we should also protect our homes from the harsh elements. Consider the following ideas to winterize your home so you can keep it and yourself safe and warm.

Clean gutters – Once the leaves have fallen, clean out your gutters and ensure that water flows properly through them. This will prevent back-ups and ice dams from forming, which can lead to roof leaks.

Trim trees – If you have low hanging trees over your house, garage, or driveway have them trimmed. Tree branches weighted down by snow and ice can break easily and do damage to property.

Turn off faucets and put away garden hoses – If you have a sprinkler system, turn it off and blow compressed air through the lines to completely drain them. Make sure all outside hoses are free of water and store them in a garage or basement for the winter months.  Turn off water to outside faucets and cover them with insulation.

Wrap pipes with insulation – Exposed pipes in unheated areas such as garages and basements should be wrapped in heat tape, insulation, or pipe wrapping.

Caulk windows and frames – Check for drafts around windows and door frames. If you feel a slight breeze, then use caulking to seal up gaps. Use a water proof caulk for the outside windows.

Replace or install weather stripping – If the weather stripping around door frames and windows looks old or is cracking, you will need to replace it with new stripping. Adding weather stripping around doors leading to the outside prevents cold drafts from getting inside.

Close outside vents – Any vents with movable parts leading to the outside should be closed shut to prevent cold air from entering the house.

Install storm windows – If you have them, installing storm windows will add an extra barrier to help prevent the cold from entering your home. Having double paned windows installed will also help.

Clean and inspect chimneys – If you have a chimney, have it cleaned out properly and inspect the vents, ensuring they open and close properly. Whenever the fireplace is not in use, always close the chimney vent, which can let in cold air from the outside.

Cover or remove air conditioners – If you have a portable air conditioner or one that is installed in a wall, then have it properly covered to prevent cold air drafts. Air conditioners in windows should be removed and stored away for the winter to prevent drafts.

Cover basement windows – Use a plastic cover or wrapping for basement windows to keep out cold air and prevent snow build up. Accumulated snow around basement windows can lead to leaks.

Maintain a safe, warm home this winter with these protection tips, brought to you by Fox Valley painters.