Preparing for winter
It’s that time of the year again, when the landscape turns into a winter wonderland and all we dream of is mulled wine and presents and carols. All this beauty can easily turn into a rough season if some preventive measures aren’t taken a little while in advance. Regardless of your housing status, homeowners and renters alike should follow a few easy steps to ensure a magical season.
- Trees are usually trimmed in the spring or autumn after harvesting is over. Yet, if you missed the occasion to do so a month ago, you can still get to it before a storm hits your area. Look for any branches that may not be able to survive a winter storm, one that brings not just heavy snowfall (which will burden the branches to the point they break and fall), but also powerful winds. Specifically, look for dead branches, or entire trees (if it’s the case) and have them removed. The last thing you want is to have a tree or a bigger branch fall on your house, on someone else’s house or even worse, fall on a person.
- Roof, drains and gutters also need to be cleaned of leaves, mud and what else gathered there throughout the year. This check is recommended to be done every six months. Replace any broken or cracked shingles that can come loose during a storm. If you are not comfortable to perform these checks yourself, you can hire a qualified roofing contractor. Once heavy snow begins to accumulate on your roof, remove snow with a snow rake and a long extension arm. Furthermore, if your house is equipped with a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you also hire a professional chimney sweep to clean it and inspect for any sign of damage.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors need a checkup as well. Replace those that are missing and replace their batteries if you don’t have them hard-wired.
- Heating system/radiator are also best to be checked by a professional. If you tie the service with your annual gas safety check, then you might receive a discount.
- Pipes need insulation otherwise they might burst from the negative temperatures. While you’re at it, caulk or add weather-stripping to windows and doors.
- Insurance, be it homeowners or renters insurance, make sure your policy is up to date and check that it gives you proper protection for any winter-related damages.
- Be prepared for a power outage as these are common when heavy snow combines with high winds. Have an emergency preparedness kit ready with three days’ worth of food, water, prescription medications and other supplies.