One day it’s summer, and the next day the leaves are turning color and falling from the trees. Time flies, there’s no doubt about it. So whether you’re in the middle of an on-site consultation for your newest home improvement project or you’ve just started drafting up ideas, there are a few things you should definitely get done before it starts snowing.
Schedule a Roof Inspection
Having a roof inspection is one of the most important aspects of any home improvement checklist. Getting ready for the winter involves making sure that you have a good solid roof over your head, and the only way to do that is through an inspection by a professional roofer. Contact a roofing contractor, and make sure that they are licensed and insured. Arrange to have them visit and make sure that they inspect your roof to see if there are any missing, damaged, or loose shingles. It is imperative to do this before the first snow, because if there is an opening in your roof, once the snow gets in it could lead to the presence of moisture, dampness, perhaps mold, and other types of damaging problems. Also, keep in mind that professional local roofers are quite in demand; so if you are planning on calling them for an inspection, do it in a timely manner. Not only is roof repair or replacement a time-sensitive home improvement project, but your local roofers can be extremely busy at certain times of the year—particularly when the winter is approaching. So don’t procrastinate, and do not wait until the last minute! Make the call now and get your appointment set up. You’ll be glad you did!
Consider Driveway Repairs
Common sense tells us all that the ideal time for driveway repairs would be in the good weather, not when the snow is flying and the winds are wailing. However, small cracks or imperfections can still be addressed, even though it is winter. In fact, sealing your asphalt driveway is a home improvement project that should be repeated every two or three years. And have a mason or your regular handyperson take care of re-setting loose or broken stones. Just don’t do the driveway paving by yourself. It’s important to call a professional to do a home improvement project of this scope. It doesn’t make any sense at all to end up in urgent care just because you wanted to prove something but you did not really know what you were doing! You won’t really save any time or money if you end up injured, right?
Check Your Doors and Windows
Your doors and windows are a major escape route for the energy that you are using to try to heat your home! To prevent heating your yard and the street, and to prevent losing money, make sure that you do this: remove all the screens from your windows and replace them with glass storm windows. The same goes for any screens in the doors; these should be replaced with glass panes as well. The glass will prove to provide a barrier between your home and the cold air coming from outside. You will also have additional protection against snow and rain penetrating into your home. Using draft protectors under the bottom of your doors will also help prevent cold air from coming in and heat from escaping out. An additional bonus to these steps will be that you will probably see savings on your energy bill if you secure your doors and windows like this.
Inspect Your Chimney
Yes, this is a safety check, but it is also a matter of home improvement and upkeep. Make sure you contact a professional inspector to look at your chimney and your fireplace(s). In particular, the inspector has to check the condition of the brick (to look for cracks and leaks) and the cap (which prevents animals from settling in for the winter).
Hold Off on Big Kitchen Renovations
When you own a home, doesn’t it always seem that there’s some type of a project going on? Of course it does. One of the most common home improvement projects for people is a kitchen remodel. Exciting, yes, but try to plan ahead if you’re doing this because there’s no worse time than the winter to start a kitchen remodeling project. If you can’t get the renovations done in your kitchen before winter arrives, just invest in some new bar stools and enjoy the peace and quiet until you can move on with your kitchen home improvement project in the spring.
Service Your Boiler/Furnace
This is a matter of safety. Heating equipment is one of the primary reasons that house fires happen, and the fires happen more frequently in the cold winter weather. Do not take any chances! Have your boiler/furnace inspected every year, and serviced at least once a year, maybe even twice. There’s no such thing as being too careful.
Inspect and Clean Gutters
Every homeowner knows that it’s imperative to keep their gutters cleared of any debris and to make sure that they are firmly connected to the house. But this is an even more important home improvement topic in the winter. This is because once the temperature has dropped, clogged gutters can be a problem because the water that is trapped in them can freeze. This can cause all sorts of problems for the homeowner. And it is especially true when the water melts since it will not have any place to go except into the house due to the clogged gutters and downspouts. So, making sure all gutters and downspouts are securely connected and clean will make the transition from winter to spring smooth and dry for your home.
Insulate Attic and Change Filters
Managing your heating bill is quite possible when you make sure that your crawl spaces and attic are insulated. You will see a difference in your heating bill, and you will save money because your heat will stay in the rooms that you want instead of going into the attic. Secondly, you may prevent ice from forming on your roof by keeping the attic cooler. Also, be sure to change filters in your heating and air conditioning systems, too. The money that you spend on having these services performed will be reflected in the money that you save when your lower energy bill arrives.
Organize Your Garage
Has your garage turned into a section of your home that is a little bit out of control? If so, you are not alone. Not to worry; even though the garage home improvement project seems like a big one, if it is done in smaller sections, your garage will eventually be neat, organized and you will get rid of a lot of stuff that you do not need. Before you know it, you will have plenty of room to store that patio furniture for the winter!
Check All Pipes and Faucets
It is absolutely imperative that any pipes at your home are insulated. One of the worst, most expensive, and damaging things that can happen to a homeowner is to have a burst pipe. But there is a good way to avoid this disaster: insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation is not expensive at all and you can install it yourself. It is very easy. Make sure it is used on PVC water pipes or any exposed copper piping, and you will have peace of mind. Pay attention to pipes that are in crawl spaces, attics, under sinks, and along exterior walls. Most of all, carefully check all the piping in your basement, because this is where burst pipes are most likely to happen. As they say, and also prevention is worth a pound of cure! At the same time It may also be a good idea to make sure that everyone in the household is aware of where the water shut-off valves are; this way, in case a pipe does burst, the water can be turned off as quickly as possible.
Review Your Insurance Policy
When was the last time that you looked at your insurance policies? Before the snow starts to fly, it’s a good idea to make sure that everything is up to date. Find all your paperwork and keep it in one handy place. It might also be a good idea to keep a list of important phone numbers and contacts right next to your policies. This way, if there is a situation where it is necessary for you to make a claim, you will be able to find all your reference material and paperwork quickly. No sense in wasting time and getting frazzled running around and rummaging through every drawer in the house to find your policy…only to learn that it has expired.
Change Up Your Home Decor
There’s no time like the winter to take on a home improvement project—indoors, that is. What could be cozier or more fun than deciding on some new home decor while the snow is falling outside? And remember, you don’t need to attend art school to be successful in updating the decor in your home. Just a few simple ideas can make a big difference. And it is a great chance to get the whole family involved! Even your middle school children, who don’t like anything, will probably jump at the chance to pick out some new artwork and accessories for the house. So who says that everything to get your house ready for winter has to be done on the outside?
Review and Update Your Vendor List
Getting ready for winter might be a good time to make sure you go over the list of vendors that you normally call concerning home improvement projects or fixing situations in your home. Is your favorite plumber still in business, or have they decided to go South for the winter? If so, this will give you time to do the necessary research and find a replacement vendor. The last thing you need is to have an emergency in your home and when you need to contact a trusted vendor, you find out that they are not available anymore.
Check Outdoor Lighting and Timers
Go over the outdoor lighting by your patio, pool, garage, and play areas, etc. Make sure all lights are functioning and all wiring is protected. This is definitely the job of an electrician, not a do-it-yourself home improvement project, so if you are not sure about any part of this process, make sure you call a professional to conduct this review.
Protect Your Flowers
What is more beautiful than a flower garden? The spring garden around your home is a precious, treasured home improvement project, more like a home beautification project! So, if you want to make sure that your flowers come back in the spring, you must take steps to protect them from the cold. Learning how to do so is not that difficult; your local hardware store or garden club will be happy to provide some tips on how to make sure your garden grows! While you are involved in this, you may also want to examine your property for any tree branches that are near your house. If there are any that appear to be diseased or unhealthy, they could fall and damage your home. Taking care of them now could avoid home improvement and replacement projects later on.
Schedule a Pest Control Inspection
Changing your air conditioning filter or checking the insulation in your attic brings up another point about prepping your home for the cold winter months: pest control. It may be a good idea to arrange to have a pest control expert visit your home and check all the nooks and crannies, just to make sure that no critters are settling into your home and hoping to stay warm there all winter long! A check-in during the fall could avoid a big home improvement project in the spring.
It is obvious that it’s essential to get your home ready for winter. Home improvement and readiness preparations include checking the condition of certain aspects of your home, such as your roof and gutters, as discussed. In addition, there are other home improvement projects that can be done as a family, such as organizing the garage and changing the decor of your home for winter. Another thing to consider would also be to have a winter check-up for the family vehicle (or vehicles). Just in case you face a situation where you do have to leave your home during a snowstorm, you want to be sure that your vehicle is ready to face the elements. That way, you will be able get you and your family where you need to be, safely and securely.