It’s hard to believe summer’s over! Fall is here and now’s a great time to think about winterizing your Main Line home. The Philadelphia area gets hit with everything winter has to offer: freezing temperatures and icy rain and snowstorms that can be so strong they even knock out your power. There are plenty of proactive steps you can take. Some may look like big chores, but compared to what it would take to make repairs after the fact, they’ll all save you both time and money.
To get started, here’s a checklist of winterizing tips we think will keep your family warm and safe through the winter months.
- Clean Out the Gutters. Not only does it help handle snow melt, it will protect your siding and landscaping, and prevent expensive-to-repair damage to your home’s basement and foundation.
- Winterize the Chimney and Fireplace by trimming back overhanging tree limbs and inspecting the chimney’s structural integrity. The National Fire Protection Association suggests a chimney inspection once a year to make sure it is sound and free of deposits and obstructions.
- Drain Hoses and Pipes. Turn off the water valves that lead to exterior water spigots and open the spigots. Drain hoses and seal water leaks. Prevent damage from freezing by making sure all water has been blown out of your sprinkler or irrigation systems.
- Define Driveway Edges. If your driveway winds, or has cobblestones that could be knocked loose, snow markers or poles are a great, relatively low-cost investment that save you a lot of money in the long run. The last thing you want after a big snowstorm is a plow truck operator accidently ripping up expensive landscaping or knocking out pavers.
- Use the Right Salt. To protect concrete driveway or walkways, invest in the right ice-melting product for your application. If you have pets, you can find calcium chloride products that are animal friendly. See this article to help choose among the various products available.
- Good Old-Fashioned Shoveling. Keep the snow from piling up against your doors, because when it melts it can seep inside and cause real problems. Shoveling works best if you do it over time – don’t wait for a big heap of it to accumulate. Otherwise, you won’t be able to open doors that swing out. Older homes with flat roofs may not be able to carry too much of a snow load, so you may want to shovel the roof so it doesn’t cave in.
- Prevent Ice Damming. Main Line homes are particularly susceptible to ice damming. As the heat inside your home rises up, it melts the snow on your roof. The snow turns to water, runs down the eaves, and eventually reaches the end of the roof where it overhangs at an unheated area. The water refreezes, gets thicker and thicker, and eventually prevents the water on your roof from draining. Ice dams cause water to back up under your roof’s shingles, where it can leak into your home. At Cottage Industries, there’s a product called Ice & Water Shield that we use during home remodeling jobs that prevents water from getting underneath the shingles.
- Trim Tree Branches. Fall is the time for tree trimming. Any dead or even questionable branches hanging over your home should be removed. You don’t want to risk them – or the entire tree – coming down during a major snow or ice storm, damaging your roof or taking down power lines.
- Get a Backup Generator. Many Main Line homeowners lose power during the winter, sometimes for three or more days. A backup generator will help you keep the lights, heat and hot water on.
Finally, if your older home still has its “classic” thermostat, replace it with a programmable one, which will save you money by automatically adjusting the heat during different times of the day. We hope these winterizing tips will help you protect your Main Line home from winter’s harshest elements. To learn more, schedule a conversation now – we’d love to meet you!