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  • Winter Ahead – Prepare Your Home Now

    michigan-home-with-snowfallMichigan boast over 6,200 miles of snowmobile trails, 2,000 miles of dog-sledding trails and over 100 miles of snowshoeing trails. The state is also home to an ice climbing facility, an Olympic snowboarding center and Sault Ste. Marie hosts the oldest snowmobile race in the country.

    With so much to do and enjoy during the long winter months, it pays for homeowners to use autumn to get their houses ready for the upcoming cold weather. Not only will preparedness make your home more comfortable, you will also save on utility costs and prevent damages.

    Window and Door Maintenance

    Any opening in your home can let in cold air and vermin. Inspect the weatherstripping and replace it, if needed. If the frames are made of wood, check for rot and termite infestation. In windows and doors with windows, consider replacing anything that only has one pane of glass. If replacing single panes isn’t in your budget, use a weatherproofing kit to add insulation. In double or triple-paned doors and windows, check between the panes to ensure the seals haven’t failed. Look for moisture or a white film left behind by moisture. If the seal has failed, consider replacement.

    Fireplace and Wood Stoves

    While your fireplace or wood stove can be a great source of heat and ambiance, they can also cause your home to catch fire. Now is the time to clean out the flue, and check the entire structure and related systems for maintenance needs. Click here for more fireplace safety tips before you light the first fire this season.

    Lawn and Garden

    There are several steps to preparing the outdoor portions of your property for the ensuing winter. Actions you need to focus on include:

    • Trimming back trees and other plantings that could fall onto the house or interrupt the electricity.
    • Aerate the grass, apply a fertilizer and reseed it to encourage a lush, deep lawn come spring.
    • Cut the water to outside spigots, fountains and sprinklers, then bleed out any remaining water. This will prevent burst pipes.
    • If you have a deck, inspect if for splintering and clean up leaves and pine nedles from between the slats to stave off mold and mildew growth.
    • Inspect all the handrails on the porch, deck and stairs. In slippery conditions, the last thing you need is for a handrail to fail and cause a nasty accident.

    HVAC Considerations

    Your heating and air conditioning system needs attention to work at optimum efficiency. If you use air conditioning window units, remove them and store them or use insulated liners to block cold air. Replace or clean the filter in your furnace. While doing this, inspect the furnace and the connecting ducts for any cracks or other defects. You will also want to turn the furnace on for a few minutes to ensure it ignites properly and is blowing warm air.

    Gutters and Roof

    Your roof and gutters are under a lot of strain in the winter. Check all the fasteners on your gutters to ensure they won’t be pulled off by howling wind or the weight of the snow and ice. If you’re able, lean a ladder against the house, climb up and do a thorough visual inspection of your entire roof. Call a professional if you notice any loose or missing shingles. Make sure all the vents and the flue are closed tightly to avoid intrusion by bats, raccoon, birds and other wildlife who may be searching for a place to nest.

    Preparing your house for the ensuing winter weather in Michigan pays off with a warm, well-maintained home. By following these tips, you can save on utility costs and prevent future damage to your home.