Get Ready for Winter with these Home Maintenance Tips

December 26, 2018

Winter is almost here! Before the weather gets too harsh, there are a few things you should do to prepare your home for the cold and snow that’s sure to come. Taking these steps now to winterize your home can help ensure you’ll go through the season without any problems.

Outside Water Faucets: Shut off faucets by closing valves inside the house, then turning on the outside spigot to drain the water from the line. Some newer homes have a pin at the shut-off valve that must be opened to let air in the line, which will keep pipes from freezing. Also, disconnect your garden hose, drain the water and store it indoors.

Gutters and Downspouts: Keep gutters free of leaves, branches and other debris. Clogged gutters can cause water and ice to collect under your shingles, resulting in damage to the roof. Clean any outside drains of leaves to prevent back-ups into your basement.

Furnace Filters: Change the filter (or clean it, if washable) at least every two months. A clean filter helps keep utility bills low, limits dust and improves the efficiency of the furnace.  Clear the area around your furnace, so that air can circulate around it and avoid a fire hazard.

Heat Setting: Prevent pipes from freezing by setting the home’s temperature to at least 55 degrees when you are out of town.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test your detectors once a month and replace old batteries promptly. Each floor of your home should have detectors. Properties with gas heat or a wood-burning fireplace should also have a carbon monoxide detector.

Fireplace: Have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year, if you use it frequently. Dispose of ashes in a metal bucket, rather than in plastic bags, since warm ashes have the potential to start a fire.

Snow and Ice Removal: Use kitty litter or ice melt on concrete driveways, walkways and steps rather than salt, which can damage concrete.

If you need help with any home maintenance projects, Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections can connect you with a nearby professional to help keep your home running in good condition all winter.  Visit for more information.