As temperatures drop over the coming months, homeowners must take steps to protect their homes. For many people, their home is more than just their largest financial asset; it's also where they raise their family. By avoiding major repairs and safety issues, you can help ensure that your family will thrive during the winter.
Check Your Furnace or Electrical Heating System
This is one of the most common areas where fires can start. Typically, furnaces become safety hazards due to a build-up of dust which can ignite, causing a significant safety concern.
To make this safer, start by replacing your air filters. Dirty air filters block airflow into your unit, forcing the unit to work harder to draw in air. This puts additional stress on the system and can increase your utility and maintenance bills. While you're at it, clean your vent covers and ducts. Use a screwdriver to remove the cover plates and wipe them with a wet paper towel. Use your vacuum hose to remove as much dust and dirt as possible from the vents.
Ideally, have a professional come out to your home, inspect the unit, and do a professional duct cleaning. This will remove dust from the system and ensure that there are no build-ups that can combust. Also, perform any needed repairs, and start planning for future ones.
Winterize Your Roof
Start this process by cleaning your gutters and downspouts. In the fall, leaves and other debris can clog your gutters, making it impossible for them to collect snow melt in the winter effectively. In the case of downspouts, debris can get lodged inside the pipes, making it impossible for water to flow through properly. Cleaning them out allows water to drain away from the roof instead of pounding on it.
While you're up there, go ahead and clean your roof. Debris and leaves provide the perfect place for mold to grow. Eventually, this mold will grow on the shingles and into the wood structure of the roof.
Also, be sure to trim back branches that have grown over the house. Not only will these branches drop more leaves and debris, but they can also pose a serious threat during a major storm.
Insulate Your Attic
Many people assume that their attic was insulated when their home was built, but the truth is that most homes are only given a cursory layer of insulation that can wear away over the years. New insulation works better than the products available on the market years ago and can help keep your house a lot warmer. While up there, check the otherside of the roof for damage.
While completing all of the items on this list won't guarantee that you won't have to file an insurance claim after a major weather event this winter, these steps can likely help you reduce the damage that will be done.