Seven Home Maintenance Tasks to Do Before Winter

By Cindy Cabbage

These late summer and early autumn days are some of the best that Central Illinois has to offer.  The sweltering heat of summer is mostly gone and winter is still comfortably far in the future.  But we all know that this is just a brief moment in time.  The icy winds and bitter cold will soon descend on us, compelling us to retreat indoors for safety and comfort.  Knowing what lies beyond the corner, the wise homeowner will prepare today for the days ahead.  These are seven pre-winter home maintenance tasks that you should do today to protect your home against the ravages of winter.

Check Your Roof

Your roof takes a beating all year long. Since it is the first line of defense against all the precipitation that falls in the form of rain, snow, or ice, you want to make sure it is in good shape.  Just a small leak can create a big problem so make sure your roof is reliable before the storms of winter hit.

Clean Out Gutters

Gutters are helpful in guiding water where it needs to go.  However, those gutters can quickly fill up with leaves, seeds, and other debris.  Without a clear path, water will pool in the gutters or spill over the sides.  This can cause damage to your roof or even your foundation as well as contribute to ice dams in cold weather.  It’s so much better to clear them out now than bear the consequences later.

Disconnect Garden Hoses

All summer long you’ve had the hose ready to water flowers, rinse off the patio, or put out an errant fire.  When summer fades and fall arrives, you won’t need your garden hose as much.  In winter, you don’t need it at all, and in fact its presence can cause a real problem.  Be sure to empty and unhook your garden hose to avoid damage water pipes causes by freezing water in the hose.

Seal Doors and Windows

As your home settles and experiences the wear and tear of everyday life, openings and cracks can form or widen.  This provides a way for cold air to invade your warm home, resulting in drafty rooms and higher heating costs.  Before winter hits, you should put a sealing around your door and window opening.  When the winds start blowing, you’ll be glad you did.

Have Your Furnace Checked

No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to an icy cold house resulting from a furnace failure.  To avoid this, the best plan is to have your furnace checked before the cold sets in.  A furnace technician can make sure that everything is in working order and that there are no problems lurking in your furnace.

Inspect Your Fireplace

Chimney fires can be devastating, but they are highly preventable.  If you have a fireplace, fall is a good time to do an evaluation and make sure there are no obstructions in it.  It is a good idea to have your chimney cleaned regularly to avoid problems before they begin.

Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

We all rely on our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to alert us to a fire or carbon monoxide leak.  It’s important that we ensure they are in working order so that we can trust them.  Test your detectors at least twice a year.  A helpful time to do this is when we change to and from daylight savings time.

Spending a little time now to maintain your home can help you avoid winter damage, saving you a lot of time, money, and inconvenience in the future.  If, while conducting your pre-winter home maintenance tasks, you determine that your home needs some more costly repairs before winter, remember that a HELOC is a great way to pay for those repairs.  Give us a call at your local Federated Bank office if you’d like to learn more about our HELOC terms and rates.

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