As we make our way through Autumn in Westport, the leaves fall, the clouds reappear, and the chill of Westport winter doesn’t seem so far away. As homeowners, there are some extra items that weigh on our minds in advance of the cold weather just around the corner: can I be sure my home will stay warm through the winter? How do I keep my pipes from freezing? And what about my beautiful landscaping?!
In the coming months, many of us will be cozying up on the couch or by the fireplace to recreate our favorite winter memories. Preventative home maintenance will provide you with a sense of peace this winter – and help you ward off easily avoidable issues ahead of time – so why not get the work out of the way? Here’s a quick and easy to-do list of items to take care of around your home to prepare it for Westport winter weather.
1. Prepare your lawn
If selling your home is even remotely on your mind, you want your lawn to be in tip-top shape to make the best first impression. Come the spring, if your lawn begins to thaw and it turns out that much didn’t survive winter, all of a sudden you’ve got a much more expensive & stressful project on your hands. So how do you get ahead of the big chill?
Regardless of whether or not you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, maintaining your lawn is one of the primary features of your property which make it feel like home. By feeding, seeding, and aerating your lawn ahead of time, you give it a much improved chance of coming back greener than ever as the temperature begins to lift. Take advantage while the ground on your property is retaining some of the heat and moisture from the warmer months.
Lastly, before the frigid climate takes hold and begins to slowly transform the vegetation around us, take pictures of the landscaping around your property to serve as a roadmap for the spring time. When you’re looking to spruce up your garden in the new year (after it’s been reduced to dried sticks – not so helpful when attempting to get a sense of what goes where), it will be helpful to have a visual aid to plan your spring garden. You’ll thank yourself later!
2. Make sure your home is primed for warmth
Of all the appliances to fail in your home in winter, your HVAC would be the most costly – both financially, and of course by way of comfort. In order to both extend its life and prevent any hiccups in between, you’ll want to have a licensed HVAC technician conduct a tune-up. If you’re already doing it regularly (I hope so!), this is the perfect opportunity to tackle it. Your trusty HVAC kept you cool through the heat and humidity this past summer, so before it returns to hard work, getting it serviced is paramount. Keeping your heating and cooling appliances in perfect working order is a key staple of home maintenance, and in my three decades of serving Westport as a top realtor, I’ve found it to be a make or break (or sometimes just an expensive repair) come time to list your home.
While we’re on the subject of keeping your house warm in the winter, let’s talk about your chimney and fireplace. That apparatus hasn’t seen much use in a year, right? In order to prevent fires, make sure to get it inspected and cleaned, and it’ll be one less thing to think about when you return to warm up in your home.
Looking for a recommendation of top-notch HVAC technicians or fireplace specialists? I’m just a quick call, text, or email away, and over the course of my 30 year career, I’ve built a list of superb contractors in Westport for every conceivable home need.
The threat all Westport homeowners face: frozen pipes. We’ve heard about them, and some of us are unfortunate enough to have experienced this challenging home maintenance issue ourselves. With all of the dread that comes just imagining the possibility, nip this potential nightmare scenario in the bud by insulating any exposed pipes, as well as ordering special hose bib covers. This way you, your pipes, and your hose bibs will all be insulated from a surprise winter storm. After those parts are installed but before you head out of town for a warm-weather vacation, don’t forget to turn your water off prior to skipping town!
It’s imperative that you apply this thinking to your garden hose as well; disconnect and drain your hose, or you may be risking leftover hose water creeping back into and expanding within your pipes.
4. Seal your home from the elements
By November, Westport has already seen its fair share of rain and wind. If you don’t carefully maintain your home, perhaps you’ve experienced the effects of either of those from within your home – but fortunately, there are a myriad of solutions. The most vulnerable parts of your home that could be improperly protected from the elements include windows, doors, and the attic in addition to your siding and exterior. Quick DIY fixes for doors in particular include simply replacing old weather strips and thresholds which are no longer fulfilling their purposes. When functioning correctly, both can help to make your house more efficient by keeping the uncomfortably cool or warm air out (while containing the desirable warm or cool air, depending on the season). Not only will this keep you more comfortable, but it’ll keep those nagging energy bills down. During daylight hours, if you can see light coming in from the outside around your door while your lights are out, its time to seal up those openings.
Before home maintenance professionals are in a frenzy tending to home emergencies around town, make sure to hire a general handyman or siding contractor (depending on the job) to caulk-up cracks and spaces. Remember, I’m happy to connect you with a Westport or Fairfield County professional to meet your home maintenance needs, but in the event you decide to investigate on your own, always ensure that the professional you choose is properly licensed, insured, and bonded. Double check their credentials via the Better Business Bureau, and/or Google/Yelp reviews to see what your neighbors have had to say about their experiences with them.
Spring Fall cleaning
So often overlooked are clogged gutters, which can ultimately lead to damaged homes in the fall and winter seasons in Westport. As the wind pushes the beautiful fall foliage about town, much of it tends to land in our gutters, plugging the all-important escape routes for rain water and snow melt to escape from creating all sorts of home damage, including devastating home floods which are entirely preventable. Moss buildup on your roof is another mechanism within which water can get trapped, and lead not only to water damage within your home, but far more devastating roof decay.
Looking for an easy task to accomplish yourself which will also help you avoid catastrophic loss? Carve out some time to make sure your dryer vents are clear. Any lint which fails to get blown out of your dryer vent can create a house fire hazard, and is one of the most common pitfalls I’ve seen homeowners face in the home selling process. Clogged dryer vents commonly appear on inspection reports when dryer vents are too long or aren’t venting properly, but fortunately this is a simple fix. Reference this video for a helpful tutorial.
Regularly maintaining your home will make it much easier to sell to potential buyers come the time, and it will keep your home’s value higher over the long haul. Even if you aren’t planning on selling, this upkeep is crucial in avoiding unexpected and/or complicated home challenges which could otherwise be easily avoided. By keeping a healthy routine in preparing your home for winter weather in Westport, you can distance yourself from unnecessary stressors. If you have any questions or concerns about how best to prepare for your home’s unique winter challenges, reach out to me by clicking below to get my contact information and start the conversation.
Source: “10 Crucial Ways To Prep Your House Before the Harsh Weather of Winter” by Ryan Buxton, Katie Couric Media