As a homeowner, it’s very important to protect your home from the wear and tear that can occur as the seasons change. When you winterize your home, you protect yourself from having to make major repairs and updates that could be a burden on your finances if you haven’t planned for them.
Before winter is here and temperatures start to plummet, there are several things you’ll want to consider when it comes to your gutters, home exterior and interior, and how to financially prepare for any upgrades.
Protect Your Gutters and Maintain Them
While planning the checklist on what needs to get done around the house, make sure to add gutter maintenance. Some may think of gutters as just a small part of your home but, in reality, they are very important when it comes to protecting the exterior and interior of your home. Giving your gutters the proper upkeep and gutter cleaning, protects your home from the risk of leaks, water damage, wood rot, insects, and the big one, foundation issues.
As you care for your gutters, you’ll want to make sure to routinely clean your gutters, especially as the seasons change. You’ll want to make sure you clear all the gutter leaves and other debris that may be caught in your gutter system and downspouts. Whether you hire a gutter cleaning service or clean your gutters yourself, you’ll want to make sure you check for bird's nests and other critter homes that may be present and could cause a future gutter clog.
If you plan on clearing out your gutters on your own, double check to make sure you have the right tools and resources. Gather a ladder, buckets, gutter brush, gloves, water hose, and gutter scoop for this purpose. Having these will ensure you are appropriately removing all gutter leaves and debris safely and efficiently.
Once you’ve cleaned them, make sure to give your gutters an overall check. Check and repair any sloping you notice or even update a damaged gutter or two. Now that your gutters are cleaned and maintained, decrease future gutter cleanings and protect your gutters from future clogging with an easy to install gutter guard. Since you are getting ready for the colder months, consider purchasing gutter guards for winter. These can help avoid the chances of your gutters clogging during the changing of seasons and protect gutters from snow and ice problems through the freezing months ahead too.
Take Care of Your Home
Properly taking care of your gutter system is a great way to prepare for winter but, there are other aspects of your home you’ll want to give some attention to. To ensure your home is keeping the heat in instead of letting it out, check all your windows and doors for any potential drafts. You may find some windows or your doors need either replacing or a little TLC such as caulking to seal air cracks. If you do notice a draft from your door, utilize weatherstripping or a door draft guard so you aren’t letting any heat escape. Assessing both your windows and doors and replacing them if needed can potentially save you a lot of money and energy.
You’ll also want to get routine seasonal maintenance done to your HVAC system. Make sure that your system is running properly and doesn’t risk breaking down during the cold months. While getting your HVAC system assessed, consider having your pipes looked at especially if you live in a more historic home. Freezing temperatures could potentially cause pipes to burst if they aren’t insulated properly, which could cost so much money in the long run.
As you go through your home top to bottom, don’t forget to take a thorough look around your attic to check for any holes or cracks that may be present. Checking for this and sealing up any openings saves your attic from potentially turning into a home for some critters.
Prepping your outdoor space is another important task to attend to while getting your home ready for winter. Make sure to put all outdoor furniture into storage to protect it from the damage that could be caused by the harsh weather. Also, tend your lawn and take care of plants that may need to be covered or moved inside for the winter. Think about seeding your lawn and using winter fertilizer during the late fall to ensure your lawn is prepped and ready to take on the snow.
Be Ready & Financially Prepare
You may find that there are a variety of home improvements that need to be done before winter arrives. No matter the size of the project, you’ll want to think about the different financial options you have and get estimates and a budget in mind.
Step one, understand financial options.
As you take on these wide-scope projects, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what financial options you have for different improvements you are looking to make. For smaller projects, you could consider utilizing store cards, or dipping into your savings if you have a decent amount stored away.
If you have projects that tend to be more expensive and need some extra financial assistance you could consider using a personal loan. You may also look into whether or not a personal line of credit or a credit card is best for the job. If your project is more extravagant and includes modifications to the structure of your home, you might want to consider a HELOC. Depending on the scope, how many smaller projects have to get done, and how grand it is going to be, can all directly affect the financial support you need and can utilize. Doing your research is a great way to ensure you are choosing the best avenue for your ventures.
Step two, get estimates from service providers.
Taking the time to do your research and getting estimates from service providers are great ways to set yourself up for success when managing the money aspect of home projects. Keeping these estimates in mind will allow you to weigh out your options on what provider will be the best for your budget. Once you get your estimates, you can implement them into a budgeting spreadsheet and get an idea of what all of the expenses will come to.
Step three, develop a budget.
Develop a budget that’ll help keep you on track when it comes to project spending. Having a budget is also a great way to stay organized and prepared for when unexpected costs arise. Not only that, but having a budget in place will allow you to see if you can tackle these extra expenses on top of your monthly spending.Once all updates are done, you’ll feel ready to take on the winter harsh weather months and have a sense of relief knowing you did everything you could to help protect and prepare your gutters, your finances, and your home for the chilly season. By taking these steps to prepare properly, you won’t have to worry about the potential damage that could result in a bigger overhaul.