6 Home Improvements to Take Care of Before Winter Arrives

Written by | Updated November 15, 2016


Whether you like it or not, winter is nearly upon us. Despite the impending onset of colder weather, some of us are still working on projects from the summer or spring. But if you live in a region that’s susceptible to snowy conditions, it might be time to put those tasks away and focus on the necessary home improvements you need to make before the end of the fall season.

1. Roof Repairs

This is a big one. If you live in an area that’s likely to experience bad weather, including snow, rain, sleet or hail, it’s important to have a solid and complete roof over your head. Even without the possibility for such hazards, the lack of a structurally sound roof can lead to any number of problems down the line.

Roofs with minor leaks and one or two broken or missing shingles can typically be repaired by any able-bodied homeowner. Roofing cement and aluminum flashing is able to repair a few damaged shingles in a matter of minutes, or you could swap out the broken shingles with brand-new ones.

Larger jobs, like the installation of a brand-new roof, are best left to the professionals.

2. Presence of Emergency Systems and Procedures

The upcoming winter months also signify the approach of many major holidays within the U.S. Christmas, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving are all enjoyed by millions of people throughout the country. However, such celebrations, which often involve large numbers of guests, home-cooked food and decorations that are potentially hazardous, can turn an otherwise joyous time into a disaster.

In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 30% of all house fires and 38% of all fatalities that are due to in-home fires occur during the months of December, January and February. Moreover, nearly 6,000 individuals are admitted to local emergency rooms on account of falling holiday decorations.

Such statistics underscore the importance of working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers within the home. While such devices won’t prevent a fire from occurring in the first place, the early warning provided by alarms and the added personal protection of an extinguisher can go a long way toward ensuring your family and your property stay safe this winter.

3. Driveway Resurfacing

You might even consider resurfacing or repaving your driveway before any new snowfall. Although this is a process that’s best completed in the warmer months of spring or summer, emergency applications and repairs can be performed in fall if needed.

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll still have to work with the outside weather conditions when resurfacing your driveway. Some materials, such as driveway sealer and quick-mix cement, require a certain minimum temperature to properly dry and cure.

Moreover, nearly every type of driveway repair or resurface requires dry weather conditions. You’ll want to pay close attention to your local weather stations before beginning this type of project.

4. Replacing Garage Doors

Many homeowners use the garage as a main entry point to their home. As such, it’s safe to say a lot of us are losing precious heat — and throwing away money — by maintaining garage doors that aren’t quite up to par.

In fact, replacing a worn-out or antiquated garage door will not only increase energy efficiency and cut down on your bills, but can also improve safety. Considering that garage doors are increasingly becoming targets for home invaders, the act of installing a brand-new garage door can actually play a role in safeguarding your valuables against would-be thieves.

5. Fixing and Upgrading Windows

Your home’s windows are meant to provide more than picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. Modern windows, which might include any number of energy-efficient or climate-controlling technologies, can result in lower utility bills by reflecting heat in the summer months and containing it during the fall or winter.

In some cases, simply installing storm windows on the interior or exterior of your existing windows can result in up to 20% greater heat retention during the winter. When performing this type of upgrade, make sure to apply the appropriate weatherproofing materials along seams, joints and overlaps, and considering installing window locks for security measures.

Alternatively, there’s a huge range of different window coverings, treatments and coatings that are easily applied, removed and, in some cases, reused as necessary.

6. Repairing an Indoor Fireplace or Woodstove

When we first think about the impending winter and any outstanding home improvement projects we may have, many of our minds immediately turn to the outdoors. However, depending on the current state of your home, there may be some internal repairs that are needed, too.

Good examples are found in the electric stove and the indoor fireplace which, when fully operational and at their peak efficiency, can have a significant impact on your heating bills over the course of the winter.

Fall is also a great time to have your chimney inspected and cleaned. With more than 22,000 chimney fires throughout the U.S. from 2011 to 2013, it’s a larger issue than many homeowners realize. Depending on the size and condition of your chimney, you may be able to complete the process yourself.

For larger systems, or chimneys that haven’t been cleaned in several years, you might be better of contacting a professional.

Preventing Winter Catastrophes by Preparing in the Fall

Now that you’re familiar with some techniques you can use to safeguard your home against the harsh winter months, it’s time to put that knowledge to good use.

Regardless of the age or condition of your home, all structures require some amount of TLC — usually in the form of preventative maintenance or routine upgrades — in order to maintain their integrity and usability for years to come.

Written by SafeWise Team

The SafeWise Team is here to help you keep your home and family safe. Whether you’re looking to pick a security system or identify and remove common risks in your home, we’re here to help you find the best products and well-researched answers. At SafeWise we combine our years of experience in home safety and security with user reviews and feedback to help take the guesswork out of living safe. Learn more

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