The weather has forecasted temperatures in the mid sixties for Williamson County all next week! It's as if Mother Nature read my blog post last week and wanted to give you nice, mild temperatures as you get outside and prepare to winterize your home. If you're welcoming visitors for the Thanksgiving holiday, you'll have extra hands on deck as you work your way down this list and will probably even have time for a football game…. or four. As I mentioned last week, improving your home by maintaining systems and preparing your home to survive and thrive during the cold months ahead isn't as glamorous as other improvement projects, but no less important. Let's take a look at our “outdoors” to-do list:
Ready your roof. Even with our relatively moderate winter climate, ice dams can form on your roof and prevent the water from melting snow or ice from draining. The water can then back up and damage shingles, leaking into the roof and causing serious damage to your home’s interior. In middle Tennessee, the most important thing you can do to avoid ice dams is to clean your gutters of any leaf debris before the temperature dips below freezing. Check your roof shingles to make sure they're in good condition and replace any that are lose or worn. Even our heaviest snowfalls tend to melt quickly, especially from roofs which warm faster from internal home temperatures and sunlight. However, if we do have one of those winters, have a plan for how you're going to remove excess snow. In northern parts of the United States, most homes have a roof rake that can be used to scrape heavy snow from the roof of your house. It's not an expensive item and is a good investment, particularly if your roof is not steeply peaked.
Add insulation. Cold air may be sneaking in around the electrical boxes that house outlets or switches in your exterior walls, but fixing this problem couldn’t be easier. A ¼-inch or even ⅛-inch gap is the equivalent of a 2-inch hole in your wall. Pre-cut foam gaskets are available for about 20 cents apiece and it will only take about two minutes to remove the switch-plate screws, place the sealer over the outlet or switch, and reinstall the switch plate.
Prepare outdoor water supplies: check hoses, sprinklers and irrigation systems and be sure they are drained and turned off for the winter.
Prepare your lawn and garden equipment. Drain the oil and gas from your mower, tiller, and weed eater and store in an equipment shed or garage. If you must leave your equipment outside during the winter, purchase protective covers.
Seal your driveway and decks. Yes, this is a big job, but I really recommend doing it every few years, at least. The constant freezing and thawing of a winter season can wreak havoc on unprotected outdoor surfaces. Spending time and money now will protect these surfaces and your wallet in the future.
Trim nearby trees. If you have tree limbs near your house, particularly ones anywhere near windows, trim them back. When they get weighted down with snow and ice, they’ll bend and perhaps break – and that can spell disaster for your windows or your roof.
I wish you and yours the happiest Thanksgiving and am so thankful to be a part of your lives!