Protecting Your Home’s Exterior for Winter

September 21, 2023

With the winter weather slowly coming to Ohio, now is a good time to start prepping the exterior of your home so the harsh winter elements don’t cause any damage. The last thing you want to have to deal with in the dead of winter is a frozen pipe or damage from large icicles forming over your clogged gutters. Before the weather turns too cold and snowy, be sure to get outside and start preparing so you don’t put yourself in a pinch. Here are some things you should look out for:


Protect Pipes

Busted pipes can cause upwards of $5,000 to fix, so it’s important to get those pipes protected. To protect your outdoor plumbing fixtures, you’ll first want to disconnect your garden hose and store it in a safe place for the winter, then shut off the water to all the outdoor faucets and drain the lines. This will ensure that water inside the lines won’t freeze and cause the pipes to bust. Once the pipes are drained, be sure to check for any cracks or leaks and repair the pipe if needed. Then, insulate the hose bibs. Pipe insulation can be installed on your own and costs as little as 50 cents per linear foot. Just cover any exposed PVC or copper pipes.


Seal Holes/Cracks

Even the smallest holes and cracks around the home can be a cause for concern because of the way water expands when it freezes. Check around your exterior and even around where cable wires or phone lines enter your home and be sure to seal them up. Any crack or hole can also be an entryway for cold air, making it harder to keep your house heated. For holes you can purchase a can of foam insulation and seal them yourselves. For cracks, use weather stripping, spray foam insulation, or caulk to remedy any cracks around the doors and windows.


Clean Gutters and Install Guards

When icicles form over your gutter that’s because your gutters are clogged and overflowing. Falling icicles could cause damage to yourself, cars, pets, kids, or anything else that it might fall down on. In addition to the icicles, this ice damming can also cause water to seap into your home and drip from the ceiling and walls, so it’s really important to clean out your gutters of any leaves, sticks or other debris before freezing temperatures set in. Gutter guards, also called gutter screens or “helmets” can help to prevent leaves from clogging the gutters


Check Attic and Basement Ventilation

Although this is technically an accommodation inside your home, making sure your attic is properly ventilated as well as insulated properly will be important for both the inside and outside of your home. Not only will you save energy by allowing your house to maintain its heat more easily, you will also help minimize ice dams from forming outside your home on the roof. In addition, adding extra ventilation will help to prevent frozen pipes as mentioned early.


Trim Trees and Remove Dead Branches

Any weak trees or branches can easily fall from the ice, snow and wind that winter brings, potentially damaging your home’s exterior or other exterior items. Be sure to look around the property and cut any branches or trees that are dead, dying, diseased or broken.


Repair Loose Roof Shingles

If any shingles on your roof are damaged, loose, or missing this can impact the protection of your roof and cause water or moisture to permeate the surface and leak into the home. It might be a good idea to have a licensed roofing contractor to do an inspection and make repairs as needed before the weather is too bad.


Repair Patios and Walkways

Just like the exterior of your home, any cracks, loose stones, or other damages to your patio and walkways are susceptible to more damage from the freezing water. Fix any loose stones or replace any cracked sections to avoid a larger issue in the spring when everything thaws.


Damage to your home could cost a pretty penny if you need to hire a professional service to fix the issue, so make sure you have good insurance in case of an emergency. Because of the freezing temperatures and the heavy snowfall that can accumulate, it’s good to keep an eye out on all of the accommodations you make just to be sure everything is staying protected throughout the duration of winter. It’s wise to walk around the exterior of your house and make a checklist of all the things you need to do, then split the work up around the changing weather patterns as needed. And of course, don’t forget to prepare the inside of your home too, which we will discuss in a future blog!


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