Preparing Your Home for Winter Inside & Out
Aspen Homes | 4 Minutes
Winter is a season of serene beauty, with pristine snowscapes and a crisp, refreshing chill in the air. But for homeowners in regions with snow and sub-freezing temperatures, fall is the time to prepare your home and property for the harsh realities of winter. Taking the proper steps beforehand can ensure your home remains comfortable and well-maintained throughout the winter months.
At Aspen Homes, we love North Idaho winters and build our homes to withstand all that winter can throw at us. At the same time, we know that the change of seasons, as beautiful as they are, can bring some challenges to homeowners. Ensure you get through the winter safely and comfortably so you can welcome spring all the more when it arrives. Here are some tips that might help.
We noted some essential steps to take in a previous article about winterizing your home: inspect your roof and clean your gutters and repair them where necessary; prune your trees; shut off your exterior water, and blow out your irrigation system so that standing frozen water doesn’t burst your pipes.
Here are a few other things you should do to protect your property and belongings:
- Yard Clean-Up: As fall transitions into winter, completing any necessary yard work is crucial. After pruning and raking, remove or burn piles of yard debris, as they can encourage mold growth and create a potential winter haven for pests.
- Gardening: Though it may be far from your mind as the skies get grayer and the days shorten, another thing to think about is whether you need to do some preparation for the spring.
- Flowers: Pull all your annuals and prune your perennials. Also, remember that many bulb plants like iris, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths must be in the ground in the fall to bring forth brilliant spring color. If you already have bulbs in the ground, you can divide them. When planting, remember that some flower varieties are not deer-proof, which can be a real issue in northern Idaho, so plan your garden accordingly.
- Lawn: Fall is an ideal time to fertilize your lawn, pull weeds, and reseed. Doing this work now can mean a full, lush lawn come springtime.
- Vegetables: To make sure your vegetable garden is ready for planting next spring, fall is an excellent time to add compost to your soil and spread a thin layer of leaves, grass, or mulch.
After preparing your garden, clean your garden tools – not only implements but also hoses, pots, cans, and other garden items. Prepare your mower for winter storage by draining fluids and cleaning and sharpening the blades. If you prepare and store your implements properly now, you will enjoy diving right into spring when the snow and ice thaw.
- Outdoor Furniture and Accessories: Protect your outdoor furniture, grills, and other summer accessories by storing them in a dry place or covering them with weather-resistant covers. This will extend their lifespan and keep them looking great.
- Deck and Patio Care: If you have a wooden deck or patio, consider cleaning, sealing, or staining it before winter sets in. Sealing prevents moisture from seeping into the wood and causing damage. Clear off any snow promptly to avoid a buildup of water and ice.
- Swimming Pool Maintenance: If you have a pool, you’ll need to winterize it properly. Consult your pool’s manual or hire a professional to handle the necessary steps, such as drying out and storing all pool accessories, cleaning the pool thoroughly, balancing the chemicals, partially draining the pool, and, if necessary, covering it.
- Snow Removal: You will need to remove snow from your driveway and walkways. That means having snow shovels ready, checking that your snow blower and plow are ready to go and that you have fuel for them. If you need someone else to provide snow removal service, contact a reliable company and arrange for service.
In our previous article, we emphasized the importance of having your fireplace and heating system checked and cleaned and to caulk gaps in window and door frames. In northern Idaho’s sub-freezing winters, staying warm in your home is critical, so here are a few more tips on ensuring you stay warm and safe.
- Check Insulation and Vents: Look at your attic space to ensure insulation is in good shape. While you are up there, check vents for the clothes dryer or fans. If they are dirty, this would be an excellent time to have your ducts cleaned. People close their houses up tight in the winter; when you can’t rely on open windows to bring you fresh, clean air, you don’t want any lingering dust or allergens in your ducts to be circulating through your home.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Another consequence of having your windows and doors shut is that air quality can be affected in other ways, including increased levels of carbon monoxide from heaters, fireplaces, stoves, and water heaters. Ensure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home to detect unhealthy or lethal doses of carbon monoxide.
- Door Sweeps and Seals: if there are minor gaps between the door and the frame, consider installing a sweep at the bottom of the door and a seal around the edge of the frame. This can prevent minor gaps from letting in drafty air.
- Be Prepared for Power Outages: It is a fact of life in north Idaho that wind and storms can knock out power lines, sometimes for days. If so, make sure you are not entirely dependent on utility power to stay operational. If you have a fireplace or stove, ensure plenty of kindling and split, dry firewood or pellets are on hand. If you don’t have a backup heating source, have a reliable and suitable generator on hand with adequate fuel. Have a qualified electrician set up a designated location for the generator with the correct hook-up and a transfer switch, and learn how to connect and run it. Use the generator only for essential services, like heating, food refrigeration, necessary lights, recharging your phones, and cooking.
- Stock Up on Winter Supplies: Another fact of life in northern Idaho is that the roads are not always cleared, especially if you live outside city limits. This may make it inconvenient or impossible to leave the house. Have plenty of water, food, and sundries stocked up so that, if you have to stay home, you can do so comfortably.
It may sound like a lot of work, but you have a few months to prepare, so tackle your fall chores in small bites. A little effort now can bring you a warm, comfortable winter with few worries and help you welcome spring when it finally arrives.
At Aspen Homes, we recognize that our custom homes represent a significant investment for our clients. It is important to take steps to protect that investment so that you and your family will enjoy your home and property for many years. Preparing your home inside and out for winter will keep you and your property in good condition and, with peace of mind, you will be able to embrace the magic of North Idaho winters.