How to Stay Safe and Dry Through Your First Winter as a New Homeowner

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A family home in the suburbs on a sunny winter day.

1. Check your heating system

Your biggest concern in winter is how to keep warm. Inspect your fireplace for cracks or debris that need to be cleaned. Some debris can catch fire and lead to bigger problems when left unchecked. Your best option is to invest in regular furnace maintenance services. Different types of fireplaces have different requirements so it’s best not to do DIY repairs to avoid running into problems in the middle of winter. It’s a lot more difficult to do unexpected repairs when it is chilling outside. 

To avoid heating problems, you also have to check in advance for leaks on your doors and windows. Check for cracks and get ready to do waterproofing repairs. Over time, your windows can develop an air gap which can lead to energy loss. 

2. Protect your pipes

Bursting of pipes happens when water freezes inside. To avoid this, you have to insulate them. Pay attention especially to those located in exposed areas or unheated parts of the house. Set the thermostat to a lower temperature to avoid the freezing of water. The ideal temperature is around 55 °F. If you plan to leave the house for a vacation, the thermostat must be kept at that temperature day and night. 

3. Check the roof

Melting snow can pose some hazards to your whole house. Before winter comes, climb up the roof to check for missing shingles. Not replacing them will result in leaks when the snow starts to melt. If you have a flat roof, bring a blower with you to make sure that there are no leaves or other kinds of debris.

The buildup of debris on flat roofs can hold moisture that will result in leaking. Don’t skip this step to prevent water damage in your attic or rooms on the top floor. 

4. Clear the gutters

One of your winter enemies is ice and snow build-up. To prevent this from happening, clean your gutters. You have to ensure that water is free-flowing all the time. 

Cleaning gutters is probably not high up on every home’s maintenance checklist. However, gutters play an important part in keeping structural damage away. Neglecting your gutters can cause you so much money in repairs when they get clogged or damaged because of leaves, moss, and twigs. You can hire a professional maintenance service to do this for you. 

5. Protect outside furniture

If you have furniture out in your patio, keep them in storage before the winter comes. Make sure there are no leaks where you will store them or you can also apply a water-repellent finish to the surfaces. You can leave some furniture outside in the winter depending on their material. Invest in quality furniture cover to prevent any damage to them. 

If you have a swimming pool, invest in pool covers. It’s best to use mesh pool covers that will catch small debris like leaves. Solid pool covers are not advisable since they can shatter under the heavy buildup of ice and snow. 

6. Prepare for winter storms

There is plenty of preparation you need to do to protect you and your house from winter storms. Outside the house, trim tree limbs that may fall into your roof in a snow storm. If the tree branches are too big for you to do, calling professional help is always the way to go. 

Prepare for possible power outages that happen a lot during snowstorms. Stock up your pantry with food essentials like flashlights and canned goods. Stock plenty of bottled water and medicine. Keep batteries within reach. 

If you can afford it, invest in a power generator especially if you live in an area where there is a power outage all the time. Having a generator will give you light and warmth during long periods without electricity. 

And of course, winter storm or not, you must have a first-aid kit ready. You can buy a pre-made kit or you can assemble your own

Making sure that you have a winter-ready home will help you get through the freezing season more easily. If you think you are incapable of doing these maintenance tasks, there are professional service providers you can always call.