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Winter is Coming! Tips to Prepare Your Home

Whether you like it or not, cold snowy days are coming! The days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder. Some people in the area have already had a small sprinkling of the white stuff! But are you prepared?

For the next few months, we will be wearing our heavy clothes, seeing our breath and generally freezing! Beyond the inconvenience and discomfort, winter weather can damage your home if you’re not prepared. A frozen water pipe can burst and flood your house or basement. An ice damn in your gutter can cause water to seep into and saturate an interior wall.

There are few things you can do to make sure that your house is prepared for winter. If you’re a new home owner, you may want to spend extra time looking things over and making sure you’re set for the colder months. Those that have been in their home for a while, might already have a winter prep drill they go through every year, but it never hurts to take a step back and double check that you’re not missing out on something that could help you get through the winter season.

Here are a few tips to prepare for winter:

  1. Clean out gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  2. Remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house.
  3. Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl space with insulation sleeves to help prevent them from freezing and to slow heat transfer.
  4. Depending on where your hot water heater is located, you may want to consider a hot water blanket.
  5. If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you’re not using it. You may also want to consider having the chimney professionally swept to prevent a chimney fire.
  6. When the temperature dips really low, keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets.

Just remember, cold and hot water flow through different pipes. I left the cold water running on a particularly cold day a few years ago and came home to no hot water! The hot water pipe froze, but the cold water pipe was fine due to the running water. Luckily, I was able to thaw out the pipe with my hairdryer before it burst and caused damage!

  1. Replace furnace filters.

If you’re selling your home this winter, here are a few more tips to help you with the selling process.

  1. Clear a path. Keep your walks shoveled and clear of ice for the safety of potential buyers. You may also want to place extra mats inside doors to collect any water or snow before they accidentally track it through your home.
  2. Let in the light. With shorter days and less light; your house might seem dark and dreary. To show it in its best light, pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Consider bringing in additional lamps.
  3. Turn on the heat. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger and look around.
  4. Ease up on the scents. Many people like to burn candles, or use plug in air fresheners especially during the holiday season; however, some people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers. It can also aggravate people with breathing conditions. Instead, simmer spices such as cinnamon in water or bake cookies just before the showing!

Once you finish with you autumn home checklist, you will be ready to relax in your warm comfortable home and enjoy the season!

By Bonnie Marlow, Realtor, Cisco Realty

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