Weatherproofing for Winter

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Keeping Jack Frost Outside Where He Belongs

As much as you may love snow, idyllic wintry wonderlands are far better enjoyed from a distance. Cold weather is great unless you're actually exposed to it firsthand, and keeping your home as cozy as possible is vital to surviving the frostier months.

Of course, no home is completely impervious to the seasonal misery of ice and snow. Those who make it all the way to spring unscathed do so by winterizing their houses and apartments so that they can actually appreciate the spirit of the season.

Staying Thawed Out Indoors
When temperatures start falling, homeowners need to take steps to halt the trend in their living spaces. For instance, pipes that are exposed to damp basements and cold air can freeze and burst, so many people install heating tape and insulation specifically designed to keep warmth in. This is especially important with main supply lines and water heaters that feed large sections of your home, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, installing insulation is a great way to increase year-round energy savings. If you're headed off to warmer climates for a few weeks, also remember to drain the waterlines and shut off your main supply valve.

Some of the woes of cold weather seem less noteworthy, but smart homeowners don't let them go unchecked. While you may be tempted to simply put on your favorite sweater when you notice a persistent draft, actually sealing window sash leaks and applying weather stripping around doors are far better alternatives.

Protecting the Outside of Your Home
Don't forget about your home's exteriors just because they're out of sight and out of mind. Freezing water and cold weather can cause serious damage to structural materials and present major safety hazards, so it's best to winter-proof your exterior before the damage is done.

You may be able to prevent your driveways and sidewalks from becoming impromptu ice-skating rinks simply by applying road salt. Of course, this is only effective in paved areas, and you don't want to destroy your lawn for the sake of keeping it defrosted. That's why cleaning gutters, emptying rain barrels and clearing out storm drains are all essential maintenance items. By minimizing the potential for backups, you ensure that any water that accumulates will only do so temporarily.

Although serious storm drain cleanings may require shovels and other hefty equipment, most outdoor winter-prep jobs are easy to accomplish with a rake, a few lawn debris bags and some good old elbow grease. If you're really feeling motivated, you can grab some power tools and fasteners to make sure your siding, gutters and downspouts are properly secured and aligned. To learn more about getting your home ready for the seasons or to find supplies and tools, visit us online today.


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