Preparing Your Home and Garden for Winter

Labor Day has passed, the kids are back in school, and the days are getting shorter. There’s no denying it (as much as we might like to) winter is right around the corner. Winter can be very harsh on your home and garden. But if you start doing these tasks now, your home will endure the cold weather with ease!

Prep Your Yard

The fall fertilizer application is the most important to your yard’s health, according to planitDIY. Their video will show you all the basics of fall lawn care. Remember to turn off outdoor water spigots, winterize irrigation systems, and take in garden hoses and rain barrels so they don’t freeze over the winter. You’ll also want to bring in terracotta flower pots that could expand and crack in the cold. Fall is typically a good time to prune back trees and shrubs, but check the care instructions for your specific plants first. Lastly, check that outdoor lighting is working properly or install more if needed. As the days get shorter, you’ll be glad for the extra light.

 

Clean Your Gutters

If you do not have guards on your gutters, you’ll need to grab a bucket and leaf scoop and head up to the roof. This is a dirty but relatively easy task and it’s important to take care of so that water from the rain and snow drains away from your home’s foundation.

 

Seal Up Your Home

There’s no better way to keep the heat in and the cold out than with insulation. This article from energy.gov can help you determine if you need to add more insulation to your home. If your windows are drafty, first make sure you remembered to replace screens with storm windows. If you still notice a draft, look for gaps in the wood surrounding the window frame and caulk as needed. You may also elect to use shrink film over windows. Weather seal tape is helpful for taking care of drafty doors.

 

Prevent Ice Dams from Forming on Your Roof

Ice dams can rip off your gutters, damage shingles, and cause water leaks. The trick to preventing ice dams from occurring is to keep your roof the same temperature as the eaves. You do this by adding insulation to your attic, sealing off air leaks, and increasing ventilation. If you have had icicles hanging off of your gutters in previous winters, that’s a sign you need to take action. Go here for more detailed instructions on how to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof.

 

Get Your Home Ready for Heat

Before you even think of turning on your furnace or lighting a fire in your fireplace, check all of the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you believe that a detector is over 10 years old, go ahead and replace it entirely. Next, contact an HVAC professional to give your furnace its annual tune-up. This will keep it working smoothly and efficiently all winter long. Make sure it gets a new filter to start the season off. And don’t forget about your fireplace. It needs a good cleaning before you’re ready to light a fire. Typically the earlier in the season you contact a professional for these services, the more affordable they will be.

 

A few other tasks to get your home and garden ready for winter:

-Purchase a good snow shovel.

-Add a fuel stabilizer to your lawnmower’s fuel.

-Place bird feeders and bird houses around your yard.

-Get your humidifier out of storage to help with dry air in your home.

-Reverse ceiling fans to clockwise to force warm air down from the ceiling.

-Protect water pipes from freezing by wrapping them in foam insulation.

How are you preparing for winter around your house?