Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home’s systems and structures. Plummeting temperatures, extremely dry air, wind, snow and ice can speed up the wear and tear on your home resulting in costly repairs. However, it’s not too late to prepare your home and protect it from the harsh winter weather, reducing your risk of costly repairs. Use the following tips to prepare your home for winter and to reduce the risk of expensive repairs.

What Impact Can Winter Weather Have on My Home?

Winter weather can have a major impact on your home. Common issues home inspectors see in the winter include ice dams, poor sealing and insulation HVAC issues, freezing pipes and more. The best way to prepare and protect your home and reduce the risk of these issues occurring is to get a Home Maintenance Inspection.

A Home Maintenance Inspection will carefully examine over 300 items inside and outside your home, making sure every component has the durability to withstand winter weather and keep you and your family safe. Should any issues be found, your inspector will walk you through them, answering questions you may have and providing recommendations on next steps. By taking this proactive approach you can conduct maintenance or repairs early and save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Protecting Your Home’s Roof and Gutters

Your roof is one of the most crucial aspects of your home and protecting it in the winter is essential to maintaining its structural integrity. The weight of snow and ice can add a lot of stress to the roof and cause the shingles to erode. The shingles are what protects the roof’s structure, so when the shingles erode, water can seep through the cracks and weaken the roof. Water and moisture create a breeding ground for mold and rot which can be detrimental to your roof and your health.

While protecting your roof is critical, you also need to protect your gutters and downspouts because problems with either component can directly lead to roof damage. Before winter begins, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves or debris so water can flow freely. If water gets backed up, it can freeze, creating cracks in the gutters or ice dams on your roof. Ice dams can severely damage your gutters, loosen shingles on your roof and cause water to build up, potentially overflowing into your home.

A Drone Roof Inspection allows professional home inspectors to thoroughly assess the roof from a safe vantage point on the ground. If you want to ensure your roof is ready to withstand the winter, please contact your local WIN Home Inspector.

Protecting Your Home’s Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are one of those things that we often forget when it comes time to winterizing our homes, but they are actually very important as they keep the cold out and the warm air in. Even the slightest gap or crack in the seal can allow warm air to escape, causing more stress on your HVAC system and resulting in higher energy bills.

One way to help prevent air leaks is by installing weatherstrips on all exterior-facing doors and windows. Weatherstrips are easy to install, are cost-effective and can be found at most hardware stores. If you are unsure about the condition of your doors and windows, call your local WIN Home Inspector and they will provide you with an honest and thorough assessment.

In addition to making sure all doors and windows are sealed properly, homeowners also need to make sure they are not leaving doors or windows open during the winter. Open doors and windows allow cold air to enter your home, and in some cases, that cold air can cause your pipes to freeze and burst, which creates an expensive problem to repair.

Protecting Your Home’s Heating and Cooling System

Conducting regular maintenance on your HVAC system is essential, but even more so in the winter. With temperatures dropping, your HVAC system is putting in overtime to produce enough heat to keep your home warm. This is why it is important to have your HVAC system inspected both before and after winter. Inspecting it before can help ensure that your HVAC unit will be able to withstand the added workload and inspecting it after the winter will help you assess the HVAC unit’s condition after the winter season to determine if any maintenance is needed.

One way to preserve the life of your HVAC is to make sure your home is properly insulated. Proper insulation will help regulate the airflow around the home, preventing drafts and fluctuations in air temperature. One way to assess your home’s insulation is to have an Infrared Thermography (IR) Scan. An IR Scan will use thermographic technology to detect slight gaps and temperature changes in your insulation. Making sure your home has proper insulation will not only help extend the life of your HVAC unit, but also reduce your energy bills. To schedule an IR Scan, contact your local WIN Home Inspector.

Protecting Your Home’s Plumbing

Rapidly dropping temperatures can make pipes susceptible to freezing, which can lead to bursting. A burst pipe is a grimy and expensive mess to clean up. One way to protect your plumbing system is to winterize the pipes. First, make sure you are insulating exposed pipes, especially ones that are outdoors. You’ll also want to carefully inspect all pipes to make sure there are no cracks or gaps. Cracks or gaps in your plumbing can allow cold air to sneak in, causing freezing.

You can also keep your thermostat at a warmer temperature. Most experts recommend keeping the temperature in your home above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping your air temperature above 65 degrees has been shown to prevent water freezing. Some people may choose to use space heaters to further aid in keeping their pipes warm, but we strongly advise against space heaters using an excess of electricity and can also lead to housefires.

Protecting Your Home’s Interior

When we think about protecting our homes for winter, we oftentimes think only about the exterior, including the roof, walkways and gutters, however, the interior is arguably just as important. To protect the interior of your home, make sure your attic and crawlspace are properly insulated. A properly insulated attic and crawlspace will not only regulate the air temperature, but also protect against moisture buildup and mold issues. If you are unsure about the insulation condition of your crawlspace or attic, it is recommended to schedule an IR Scan with your local WIN Home Inspector. With an IR Scan, they use infrared thermography to scan your walls, floors and ceilings to find gaps in your insulation and high moisture levels.

In addition, your fireplace and chimney is another area of your home’s interior that you need to inspect and prepare for winter. Most chimneys are equipped with a damper which allows the smoke from the fire to flow freely outside while keeping the outside air, weather and debris out of your home. Over time, your damper can develop cracks, allowing cold outdoor air, rain, snow or sleet inside while also posing a fire risk. A will help ensure that your fireplace and chimney are functioning properly and can protect your home from the harsh winter.

Keep Your Home Safe This Winter

The average homeowner in the U.S. spends over $81,000 on home repairs and up to $22,000 on emergency repairs over the course of their homeownership. Regularly inspecting and protecting your home can drastically reduce both numbers, saving you money and allowing you to enjoy homeownership with peace of mind.

To get an initial assessment of your home, we encourage you to reach out to . They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and perform any necessary inspection services for your home!