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Winterizing your home. Yes, it’s that time of year again… Within weeks, 90% of Midwestern, genetically-programmed small-talk will revolve around the weather. However, with cold feet come cozy homes and warm hearts. As you prepare your home for family, friends, and hibernation, it’s equally as important to prepare your home for the severe damage cold weather can cause:

  • Frozen pipes can burst and flood your home.
  • Heavy snowfall and ice buildup can cause a roof to cave in or gutters to break.
  • Falling tree branches can damage your home’s exterior, and children playing in the snow.

In order to ensure your home’s protection against the elements, as well as protection against high repair costs, we have set out to create our guide to winterizing your home.Pipe Protection

With the potential to cause severe damage to your home, as well as cause severe damage to your bank account, frozen pipes are an all-to-real threat. It is essential to cover any exposed pipes in unheated areas – basement, attic, outside, etc. Standard pipe insulation sleeves are most common solution – make sure to cover each inch of the exposed pipe. The use of pipe wrap insulation is also an option, but is a more tedious project. Protecting your pipes may be the most crucial aspect to winterizing your home.

Have an underground irrigation/sprinkler system? Make sure to schedule a yearly blowout with a local landscaping or irrigation company. If you fail to have your system cleared of water, and main water supply shut off, you can expect to see a destroyed sprinkler system, and yard, come springtime. Also, make sure to store any garden hoses in a warm area.Clean Gutters

As for gutters, you will need to conduct a full debris removal when preparing for winter, as well as continual maintenance throughout the winter. During the spring, summer, and fall months, leaves and other debris build up in your guttering system. This debris prevents the free flow of ice and water and can easily lead to leaks.

Because our homes are built with proper attic insulation, ice dam formation should not be a concern. However, heavy, out-of-control snowfall still has the potential to build up on your roof and in your gutters. Without continual and proper removal, this snow and ice has the ability to:

  1. Detach from roof – potentially land on someone or something
  2. Cause a roof cave-in
  3. Cause gutter sections to break away from roof

The key here is safety. With heights and reduced traction in the mix, take all necessary precautions when performing these tasks.Trim Those Trees

Ice-covered, wind-swept, overgrown tree branches are a recipe for disaster. With potential for property damage, power outages, and injury, overgrown branches need to be trimmed during winter preparation. Additionally, the breaking of these limbs can also lead to the death of your tree.

Additional lawn and garden tips:

  • Aerate your lawn and apply a winterizing fertilizer – promotes deep-root growth come spring
  • Install trunk protectors on young trees
  • Apply mulch (pine needles or chopped leaves) to perennial and shrub beds – protects roots and moderates the effect of extreme temperature changes

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a major concern among homeowners during the winter months. However, with Verity’s Energy Efficient Homes, we make sure your energy bills remain consistent throughout the year. Through proper insulation, low-emissivity windows, and high-efficiency HVAC systems, we eliminate concern for your home’s major energy killers.

That being said, there are few seasonal-dependent areas of your home that need to be addressed when winterizing your home.

  • Fireplace. An open fireplace is essentially a giant tunnel for warm air to escape. Make sure to shut the damper on your fireplace.
  • Furniture. Move furniture away from major vents in order to prevent the blocking of warm air flow.
  • Fans. While not often used during the winter, fans can be useful if your home begins to feel stuffy and you need to circulate the air. When doing so, make sure your fan is spinning clockwise – will push warm air towards floor.

If you are concerned that any windows, doors, or weatherstripping may have been damaged since the previous winter, make sure to check and make any necessary repairs. Leaks are energy-efficiency’s worst enemy.With grown-up-language-inducing temperatures and mountains of white nonsense, winter can be a lot to handle. Don’t add to the frustration with property damage, personal injury, and high energy bills. Take the necessary steps to properly winterize your home and jump into spring scathe-free.