Winter is just around the corner! In fact, it's already begun snowing in some parts of the Midwest. In Chicago's North Shore, we tend not to get snow quite yet, but it's still critically important to make sure your home is ready for that first deep freeze. We've put together four tips that you can do today to make sure your home is ready for a Chicago winter.
1. Disconnect your hoses.
Leaves are beginning to fall, and to those passionate about protecting homes that can only mean one thing - it's time to begin winterizing your home. One of the biggest and easiest steps you can take today to prepare your home for winter is to disconnect your hose. Most hose bibs in 2018 are frost proof, which means that the water is terminated where it is shut off inside the house where it's warm. Leaving the hose connected unfortunately creates a column of water that travels from the inside to the outside. If there's a deep freeze in the next couple of weeks, there's a risk that the pipes could crack inside the house and create some flooding.
As soon as you see leaves beginning to fall, it's time to go outside and disconnect all of your hoses. If you're not sure how, I've created this how-to video just for you.
2. Clean your fireplace and chimney.
For some, using a fireplace is a very viable heat source. For others, it's a festive way to acknowledge that the weather is getting cooler outside. What are the holidays without a yule log burning? But before you light your first fire of the season, be sure to get your chimney checked and cleaned!
It's important to make sure soot and other undesirable contaminants are cleaned from your chimney before you begin to use it again this winter. Not only is the air otherwise unhealthy to breathe in, but it can also potentially be a fire hazard to leave flammable materials throughout your chimney column.
3. Prepare your gutters and downspouts.
Gutters are generally one of the first casualties of Midwest winters. That makes it that much more important to clean them out before the first freeze. Remove all those beautiful fallen leaves from your gutters to make sure that they won't later freeze and create a blockage for other running water that could lead to frozen gutters expanding beyond their means. Take a hose to the downspouts to make sure that there is no debris cluttering the exit of your gutters making them even more susceptible to damage.
4. Check your foundation and landscaping.
Check your foundation
Take a lap around your home's exterior. Be sure to rake away any leaves or landscaping around your foundation so that you can clearly see if there are any cracks that will need to be sealed. As the weather gets colder, small animals and insects are on the scout for warm places to make home - don't let your walls or basement be their target.
Prepare your landscape
Preparing your landscaping for winter can be a bigger project. This includes ensuring that:
- your driveway is sealed if it may crack in freezing weather
- branches hanging near electrical wires are removed
- brick or wood patios and decks are sealed for storms to avoid damage
- bring in any potted plants that won't weather the cold
Are you considering remodeling your Chicago area home this winter? Here are a few reasons why that's a great idea! At BDS, we take each and every home into careful consideration at every step of the remodeling process - no matter the weather.