Chasing the Winter Chill Away – Part 2

After taking care of any problems that you may have uncovered with the major components of your home during your annual checkup of the furnace, windows, doors, roof and gutters, it is now time to take a look at a few other often overlooked maintenance areas. Ensuring that you have adequately prepared your landscaping and other outdoor exposed surfaces for the coming months can help you greet Spring with a cheerful smile.

Frozen plumbing can cause extensive damage to a home and is generally easy to prevent. Locate your water main so that can turn the water off in an emergency. It is easier to find it prior to dealing with a broken pipe or some other running water. Remember to detach and drain all garden hoses and if possible have outdoor faucets installed that are rated for your area’s climate and temperature. Insulate or enclose any exposed plumbing pipes and if necessary drain any air conditioner pipes and if your AC unit has a shut-off valve, turn it off. Should you leave for vacation remember to leave the heat set at least at 55 degrees and have a backup system in place should the power go out unexpectedly while you are gone.

All homes are built on a foundation and keeping your foundation sound and secure will help keep unwanted visitors and Mother Nature out. Rake all debris and vegetation away from the foundation and inspect for any cracks or openings that need to be sealed. Remember that mice and other pests can slip through a space as thin as a dime and are always looking for a warm home with food when cold weather hits. Inspect all exterior door and window sill plates for any dry rot or pest infestation, early detection can help keep any problems from spreading and save you money.

Late Fall is the best time to prepare your outdoor living areas and plants for the coming months but, as long as no snow has fallen you can always trim and rake. Removing any dead branches that overhang the home before they fall is always a good idea. Costly insurance claims due to “acts of nature” can frequently be denied or simply take time to resolve and with a little preventative maintenance you can minimize your risks. Remember to move all temperature sensitive plants indoors or to an adequately sheltered area before the weather shifts to ensure that they will be available and ready for Spring. Sealing driveways, brick or concrete patios and wood decks can help keep water and moisture out which will add to the life of your outdoor improvements.

Taking the time to prepare your home for weather shifts by completing an annual check-up and tuning up those areas that need maintenance can help make your winter months secure, warm and cozy.