Tips for preparing your home for a harsh winter

Winter is well and truly on the way. With the days getting colder and the night’s drawing in, you'll want to get ready for when winter really sets in. Here's how to prepare your home for a harsh winter, and stay warm and cozy.

Check Your Roof

Your roof is your home's first defense against the elements. It stops the water from getting in, and the heat from getting out. That's why it's so important to ensure it's in top condition. A worn-out roof can lead to leaks, heat loss, and all kinds of problems. That's why now is the time to inspect and repair your roof.

Get up and take a look at the roof. Replace any shingles that are broken or missing, and clean out the gutters so rainfall can drain off properly. Get into your attic too, and see if there are any problems inside of your roof. If you see any issues, call a roofer to correct them.

Prepare Your Yard

You'll need to prepare your yard for a cold winter if you want to set it up for next spring. First, start over seeding your lawn. This will help it with new growth next year. Check your trees, too. Cut away any old or overhanging branches that could damage your home in a storm. If any trees are dead, they'll need to be removed in case they fall during the winter.

Don't forget your patio furniture. If you can, put it away in a shed or garage until you're ready to use it again. If you can't, cover it so that it's safe from the elements. Check your yard equipment, such as lawnmowers and pressure washers. Ensure the gas tanks are empty, ready for fresh gas in the spring.

Be Prepared Against Pests

Now that the weather is getting colder, you want to be sure that pests aren't going to make their way into your home. The house is a perfect shelter against the elements and is an excellent place for them to breed. Learn how to prevent rats, mice, squirrels, and other pests from entering your home.

Your attic and garage are the best points for pests to get in. Make sure any cracks and holes are sealed up, no matter how small. Check your garage door seal for damage, and replace it if needed. Remember to keep all food in sealed containers, and check for dampness. If you find anyway, find the source and repair it to cut off the water source.

Prepare for Snow

If you're facing a particularly harsh winter, then you'll need to prepare for snow. If you have a snow blower, take it out and fire it up to see if it’s working. Get it repaired if not, so you'll be ready when the time comes. Ensure you have enough salt on hand to clear your driveway and walkways, and that you have a shovel on hand. Remember, it'll be hard to find a shovel if it snows.

Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Now is a really good time to test all the detectors in your house. You'll be spending more time at home, and you'll be running the heating and your fire much more often. If there's ever a problem, you want to be prepared. Test all of your detectors, and ensure they sound when you do so. Also, install fresh batteries that should last through winter until the spring comes again.

Clean Your Chimney

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you need to have it cleaned before the winter. Call in a professional chimney sweep to clean it out and make it safe, before you start using it. They'll also be able to identify any maintenance problems, so you can address them now. Make sure you order your firewood now, too. Store it somewhere dry, so it's ready for the winter.

With these tips, you'll be able to make your home safe, cozy, and warm ready for winter. It's always best to be prepared, so take these steps to ensure you're prepared against the coming weather. There's no better feeling than knowing you're ready, no matter what happens next.

Photo:Tracy Adams, Unsplash