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Hw Homeroom: Winter Home Prep

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Utah's winter months are beautiful for plenty of reasons (snow-capped mountains, skiing/snowboarding/sledding, chilly hikes, fireside visits, et. al.), but the truth is, the cold is hard on things. Our bones feel more brittle, our cars start to whine and sputter, and some of the many moving parts involved with home ownership require just a bit of...extra attention.

Inconvenient as it may be, tending to a few important things around your property before the temperatures drop will give you the upper hand in a few ways. For one, completing any exterior requirements in 55-degree weather is far better than the 25-degree alternative. But you can also rest easy knowing that with a few begrudging tasks out of the way, you're far less likely to face burst pipes, damaged cooling systems, or other long-term damage when the warmer months come around. In other words? Save yourself some stress and money by getting a few things done now.

Here's a shortlist of 10 things worth doing soon to keep your home in working order while we all head inside and hibernate until spring.

  1. Turn off the water outside and winterize any exterior water lines. By which we mean, drain the faucets and spigots, then disconnect and drain your hoses. Just a few simple turns, really, and you can avoid cracked/burst pipes and busted hoses.

  2. While you’re at it, don’t forget to turn off your sprinklers. Often, however, this isn’t quite enough to ensure a damage-free winter, and sprinkler system repair can get very expensive. We suggest you call a professional to have the system “blown out," which helps to ensure that no lingering water is missed.

  3. Check the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors throughout the home. Winter heating is a big cause of property fires…best play it safe.

  4. Turn off your AC unit (you can cover if you like, but this isn’t necessary) to ensure it doesn’t kick on when things are frozen, which could cause damage. Or, if you have a swamp cooler, don’t forget to winterize it (disconnect the water line, drain it, and cover it) to avoid frozen lines.

  5. Clean, check, and change the filter on your furnace. If that doesn't sound like a job for you, call someone and have it serviced before things get too chilly.

  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, be sure to have your flue cleaned out. For those with gas, don’t forget to check inserts and ensure the remotes are fully functioning.

  7. Clean out those gutters! Once you have them free of leaves and debris, check to be sure that runoff is going where you’d like. If not, make the necessary repairs/changes to avoid any post-winter water damage.

  8. Check to be sure your snowblowers are in ready/working order (be a shame to have no gas when the first big storm hits) or that you’ve got a working snow shovel on hand. Likewise, have a bag or two of ice melt at the ready.

  9. Do an overall check for repairs: gaps in trim and windows, for example, or damaged shingles/holes in the roof. A nice fall breeze feels markedly different when the temperature drops below 40, so add weather stripping or repair as needed before it's too late.

  10. What to do with the yard? Well, you should always cut back plants and cover anything delicate that’s susceptible to freezing. There are slightly competing schools of thought regarding how we should all deal with the leaves that cover our grass (to rake or NOT to rake), but the middle ground is likely the best way to go. Remove some of the larger leaves to ensure their weight won't smother the lawn or prevent new growth in the spring, but keep at least a thin layer of leaves. This can be enough to keep nutrients in the soil and enable some necessary wildlife to survive the winter. Pro tip: always mow, mulch, or compost your leaves, rather than simply bagging them and adding to landfill waste.


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