Frozen and burst pipes are of the highest home insurance claims and most frequently occurring source of damage, notes the Insurance Information Network of California. Yet many homeowners don’t know how common this problem is and don’t think their pipes could burst in the winter, causing expensive damage. This and other cold-weather problems can be prevented with a small amount of preventative maintenance as part of a fall cleanup. This year, spend a weekend ensuring that you, your garden and your home weather winter’s chill with ease by preparing your home, indoors and outdoors, for colder days ahead.
Time spent getting plants, shrubs, trees and grass ready for the winter can reward you in the spring. To ensure perennials return next year, and to prevent injuries that occur to plants when they are subject to significant amounts of ice, snowfall and winter chill, start preparing now. Home repair guru Bob Vila recommends starting with these issues:
- Bulbs: Dig up and store flower bulbs in a cool, dry place (i.e. cellar) for replanting in spring.
- Trees/shrubs: Trim trees and shrubs away from the house so icy branches don’t damage your home’s exterior.
- Potted plants: Store any frost-sensitive potted plants inside for the winter. Also move empty terra cotta planters indoors since they can swell and crack in the winter.
- All plants: Remove dead growth from all plants and trees, since this can mildew and offer insects a place to hide.
- Lawn: Aerate and re-seed lawn with cool season grass. When the grass begins to grow in spring, it will come in thicker and fuller. Sunbelt Rentals offers aerators that can help you accomplish this task.
Not only can the following interior tasks prevent mold and mildew damage that will shorten the lifespan of exterior home materials, they help to insulate your home from winter’s chill. Complete these preventative maintenance tasks yourself to save money on utility bills and home repair:
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- Windows/doors: Install storm windows and doors to prevent against heat loss. If necessary, caulk around windows and doors to prevent drafts from chilling your home this winter.
- Windows: Replace cracked or broken exterior windows with new windows to ward off drafts.
- Foundation: Check that soil around your foundation slopes downward, away from the home. This helps snow and ice runoff to melt away from your home, and not cause foundation problems.
- Deck furniture: Wipe down patio furniture and store in your garage or cellar for the winter. Also store a grill, fire pit or other outdoor living elements inside for the winter.
- Deck: Sweep leaves, dirt and debris off deck. Snow can promote the growth of mold and mildew on dirty decks.
- Exterior hoses: Disconnect hoses and store them inside to discourage burst pipes. Drain all water from exterior faucets and shut them off for the winter to prevent water left in pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Exterior lighting: Ensure that your home has sufficient exterior lighting. Without sufficient lighting, you may slip and fall on icy stains, injuring yourself.
Ryan owns a landscaping company and writers about lawn care and gardening tips.