Image result for winter homeThe holiday seasons have arrived, with the holidays comes the cold, the ice, and the snow. The coming weather is capable of causing significant damage to your home if you aren't prepared. There are many different ways of winterizing your home depending on where you live. For example, in warmer areas you won't even really realize that winter has come. However in colder areas like New Jersey people go all out making sure that anything holding water is emptied, heated, or insulated. Here are a few things you should check before the first freeze comes to ensure that this winter doesn't bring any significant damage to your home. 


#1 Trim Trees and Empty Sprinklers

While you’re out cleaning up the yard, trim any overhanging branches from your trees so that accumulating ice and strong winds won’t bring them down onto your house, car or garage. If you have a sprinkler system and haven’t emptied it yet, now is the time to disconnect the water and blow it out according to your system’s design.


#2. Check Your Gutters 

Cleaning out you gutters after the autumn leaves have fallen is always a great idea. Gutters are one of the big causes of ice dams, which can cause water to back up into your attic. If this is a repeating occurrence it can become damaging, so to be safe, check those gutters again and clean out anything you missed or that has accumulated since your last round of cleaning.


#3. Cover Your Outside Faucets

Buying a cover for each of your outdoor faucets, even if they’re frost free, can be very beneficial in the long run. You should have already removed any hoses as soon as the nighttime temperatures started to dip. Some people wrap their faucets with pipe insulation, but for the long run, the styrofoam caps can’t be beat. They’re easy to install, hold tight all winter and are easy to store until the next year.


#4. Wrap Your Pipes

Homes with crawl spaces are especially susceptible to frozen pipes during the winter. First, make sure your foundation vents are closed to keep cold wind from blowing into the space, then get a little more hands on with the pipes. Anything on an outside wall should be wrapped with pipe insulation, heat tape can also be installed for pipes that are more likely to freeze. Taking these extra precautionary steps will save you in the long run to help you prevent your pipes from bursting. 


#5. Caulk and Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

Check your windows and doors finding where you can replace any dried up or loose calk.

Make sure that you push the new caulk into the opening as you dispense it. Angling the tip so you can move across a section of trim with a single motion to create an uninterrupted bead.

This is also the right time to check your weatherstripping. Between your doors and windows cold air and drafts will be likely to sneak in. If you are replacing this weatherstripping take a sample of what you need to the hardware store, as the selection is very large. 


#6. Have You Had That Chimney Checked?

Checking your own chimney is not only a bad idea but it can be very dangerous as well. A quick check by a chimney sweep is an affordable alternative to a chimney fire. The thing is that what you can see from the hearth isn’t much, a lot of chimney fires start further up.

If you have a wood stove with a double or triple walled flue, you may have better access to the entire length of the chimney, but don’t ever take a chance on anything that burns as hot as a wood stove or fireplace. This is one item in your house that can have disastrous results if you don’t maintain it regularly.