The calendar may still say that it's fall but with a freeze warning in effect this weekend, winter weather is on its way! Here are our top tips for preparing your home for winter:

Winterize hose faucets 

Not sure how to do this? Check out this great video!

Clean gutters 
As we near the end of the fall leaf season now is a great time to have your gutters cleaned. It’s even more important that they are clear once temperatures start to dip below freezing, frozen clogged downspouts and ice dams can result in roof leaks.

Insulate at-risk pipes -

Plumbing in unheated areas of your home, exterior plumbing, or pipes that run against exterior walls are at risk of freezing. Prevent frozen pipes by insulating them. Foam insulation is inexpensive and can prevent costly damage. 

Service furnace or heater

If it’s been more than 12 months since your last service, it’s a good idea to have a tune up to identify any potential repairs before you find out the cold way that there’s a problem. Extreme cold weather puts additional stress on heating systems, and creates very high demand for HVAC technicians. 

Seal doors and windows 

Check the caulk and weather stripping around doors and windows, repair or replace where needed. Windows and doors are one of the main points of energy inefficiency in our homes, keeping them tightly sealed can save you money on your heating bill and keep your home more comfortable. Here’s a great article on how to check for air leaks and seal around windows. 

Clean chimney and fireplace

If you have a woodburning fireplace, have your chimney cleaned before you use it for the first time. Here is some advice on how to tell if it’s time. When in doubt, consider having it inspected before using it if it’s an older home and you don’t know the condition of the lining. Creosote can accumulate in the cracks in a chimney lining leading to fire risk. 

Winterize vacant homes 

If you are planning to be gone for an extended period of time, consider having the home professionally winterized to reduce the risk of plumbing issues that can occur when the power goes out. This involves draining all water from the plumbing of the home.

Have deicer and shovels ready 

Don’t wait for the first weather incident. We know that it won’t take much to shut down roads and that’s probably not when you want to be attempting a trip to the hardware store (or ER!).

These tips aren’t just for homeowners - if you rent a home check your lease to see if it has clauses about seasonal home maintenance and the responsibility of frozen pipes. Discuss this with your landlord if you have any questions or are not sure.