The Starks in Game of Thrones may have coined the phrase, but when the first snowfall in Denver comes in early September, this fictional warning seems all too relevant. The dramatic shift in weather is no strange phenomenon to most Denverites so we know summer will be back, but nonetheless it reminds us a new season is right around the corner. And when we begin to think about temperatures dropping, days growing shorter, and snow falling, we should consider how best to prepare our homes for the cold temperatures.
We have summarized a list from The Washington Post to help you ready your home for cold temperatures for this winter season…
Check your heat.
Maybe you can take the heat, but can you get it. After a sweltering summer, you likely have your cooling system functioning properly. Now is the time to get your heat checked. At the very least, change filters and at the most, have a reputable HVAC specialist do a thorough inspection. Make the necessary repairs and replacements they recommend. Heating and cooling systems have a lifespan of 10-15 years. You would much rather find out there is an issue with your system in the fall than in the dead of winter.
Monitor your exterior’s layers of protection.
Depending on the materials your home is constructed of, you should be aware of the maintenance these materials require. It is likely that the trim around your windows and doors should be caulked and resealed once a year. At the very least, look for obvious cracks or signs of deterioration and keep in mind that if these susceptible areas go untreated for too long, the full replacement can be costly and less attractive than the original materials. Your deck should also be considered. It doesn’t need to be resealed nearly as often, but every few years it is probably a good idea. Try a trick to help you know when it’s time by pouring water on the deck surface and watching for a few minutes to see if the water beads up or soaks in. The latter result means a reseal is in order.
Patch and seal your driveway.
Whether your driveway is made of concrete or asphalt, it needs to sealed before cold weather. Any small cracks that have formed should also be filled prior to sealing.
Check your drainage.
Walk the exterior of your home to ensure all water is moving away from your foundation. Gutters should be long enough to carry water elsewhere. Moisture shouldn’t be pooling anywhere near your exterior. If it is, extend your gutters or fill pools with soil. Any water that ends up freezing during the winter months could cause problems when it thaws.
Clear your gutters.
This is a task to tackle near the end of fall. Falling leaves tend to collect in gutters causing problems with drainage.
Get ready for cozy fires.
If you have one, get your chimney cleaned and checked for any possible maintenance that needs to occur. Stock up on firewood and store it in a dry place.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Because we have the heat on full blast, candles burning, and windows and doors shut tight, the winter becomes the most rampant months of house fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. Ensure all of your alarms’ batteries are replaced and everything is in working order to avoid these scary scenarios.
Winterize your outside water systems.
If you have a pool it might be a good idea to have it professionally winterized and checked for any repairs or maintenance. Swimming pool contractors tend to get busy in the spring with new installs so taking care of maintenance now could help jumpstart your summer next year. It is also a good idea to have a professional winterize your sprinkler system. The lines should be blown out and it is more financially sound to spend the money now than spend it repairing who knows how many broken lines come spring. Finally, run the water to your outdoor spigot. This is an easy task you should be able to handle yourself. Just turn the inside water source that leads outside off and run the outside water until it turns to merely a trickle.
Seed your lawn.
This one may seem odd given that most lawns begin to brown and die in the Fall. However, September and October in Denver are actually prime months of growth to ensure a green lush lawn. It is not too hot or too cold. During these months, seed and water your lawn regularly. Come the holidays, apply a winterizing treatment to help your lawn survive the coldest months of the year.
Trim your landscaping.
Prepare your plants, bushes and trees by trimming them. This can help fuel their growth in the spring. It also encourages you to inspect your trees and other large plants for any damage they may cause to your home or your neighbors’ homes in the event of a winter storm. Dead or overgrown vegetation could pose problems that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Create critter barriers.
The cold weather may encourage small animals like birds and squirrels to make nests and homes in the areas in your attic, under your porch, or below your soffit. Keep an eye on these areas and use screens or barriers to discourage the use of these areas by cold and curious animals.
Audit your insulation and energy use.
This can be something you hire a professional to do. Or, at the very minimum, you can check door seals, outlets, and light switches for drafts to be dealt with accordingly.
Put your lawn equipment in hibernation.
Many of the tools and machines you use in lawn maintenance like your lawnmower, weed-whacker, and pressure washer use gas. Drain this gas as it will go bad over the winter months.
Cover your patio furniture.
Put protective, water proof covers over your outdoor furniture. Make sure to do so when the furniture is completely dry so as not to trap moisture that may cause mold and mildew to grow.
Consider snow removal.
Make sure you have a quality shovel handy as well as lots of salt. If you have a snowblower, it might be a good idea to take it for a test drive and ensure it is ready to go. If not, get the repairs done now so it can take on the first big snowfall.
Corken + Company is excited to usher in blustery snowfall, cozy cuddles, and holiday spirit. We love the intimate gatherings, the fun adventures, and the focus on family that accompanies the winter months. Please let us know how we can help you prepare your home for cold temperatures and your family for this wonderful season!
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