Prepare your home for winter – Easy tips!

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Prepare your home for winter – Inside and out

Is that snow? It’s time to prepare your home for winter! If you live in a cold climate, winter can be a beautiful time of year, but cold temperatures and winter weather events can cause safety issues and damage to your home. If you don’t prepare your home for winter – both inside and out – you may encounter some costly problems. This checklist can help make sure your home is ready.

INSIDE

1. Clean and inspect chimney

One great thing about winter is enjoying the warmth of a fireplace. With all this coziness, it’s easy to forget that a blocked chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, and creosote buildup can cause a chimney fire. To make sure your chimney, fireplace or other wood-burning devices don’t present a fire hazard, have them cleaned and inspected by a professional. Doing this can help prevent these types of fires, which have accounted for 18,000 residential fires each year, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Related: How to eradicate fire hazards in your home 

2. Maintain home clothes dryers

Although we think of fires starting mostly in fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, fires can also start when clothes dryers and surrounding elements are not kept clean. According to the U.S Fire Administration, more home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January. What’s more, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Remember to remove lint from the lint filter before each drying cycle and the space behind your clothes dryer. Cool dry weather can produce static electricity and cause a fire.

3. Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors help to provide peace of mind in detecting fire and carbon monoxide in your home. Fresh batteries are critical to the functioning of both the smoke alarm and CO detector. While you prepare your home for winter, take time to change the batteries in both or consider upgrading to newer models if they’re outdated.

OUTSIDE

 1. Clean gutters

As you head outside, remember to remove debris like leaves and dirt from your gutters to help prevent moisture from accumulating. When it’s cold, the moisture can freeze and produce ice dams. The ice can cause water to leak inside of your home, cause damage to furniture and even set off an electrical fire. Removing debris from gutters can help melting snow to properly drain through your downspouts.

Related: How to prevent home electrical fires

2. Trim trees

Part of preparing your home for winter should include having a professional trim trees and dead branches that are hanging over your home. Falling frozen branches are heavy and could injure people below or could cause costly damage to roofs, porches and siding. Trimming can prevent branches and dead limbs from snapping off when they’re ice-covered.

3. Disconnect garden hoses

Your garden hose was certainly a helpful tool during the summer, but as winter approaches, make sure to disconnect your hose to prevent trapping water inside. Also, shut off water to the outside to prevent freezing pipes. If you leave your hose connected to the outside spigot, water inside can freeze and cause the hose or the spigot to burst. When a spigot bursts, it can also cause a burst pipe inside the house.

4. Flush outdoor irrigation systems

One thing you may forget when preparing your home for winter is your outdoor irrigation system. The water remaining in your sprinkler system will need to be blown out of any remaining water. You certainly don’t want to deal with blocking your system with ice or bursting pipes. Remember to have your sprinkler system winterized to prevent these costly issues.

Preparing your home for winter doesn’t need be a daunting task, but it’s surely an important one. Follow these steps and others to help your home to be safe and cozy all season long.

Resources:
A dozen property tips to avoid pricy winter insurance claims | PropertyCasualty360
6 ways to get your home ready for winter | PropertyCasualty360
How to Prevent Chimney Fires this Winter | Family Handyman
Clothes dryer fire safety outreach materials (fema.gov)
Winter Checklist: 14 Things Every Homeowner Should Do Before Winter (familyhandyman.com)
10 Tips to Get Your House Ready for Winter – Consumer Reports
15 tips to Prepare your Home for the Fall and Winter – Remodeling Magazine