Taking consistent maintenance steps regularly throughout the year is the best way to avoid a long, tedious, and perhaps, expensive process. Winters can be especially unforgiving when it comes to repairs if you are not mindful of the time it takes to properly maintain your home. Leaving the warning signs unattended may result in some harsh lessons. If you want to avoid costly repairs, it is best to prepare your home for the winter. Here are some steps you can take to protect your home, your wallet, and your sanity.

Check your Gutters and Drainage

Rain always presents a challenge when it comes to keeping your gutters and drains clean and free of clutter. If you take a proactive approach to maintaining your gutters, you will prevent your need to replace them. Additionally, clogged gutters and drains have the potential to lead to roof damage.

When a gutter clogs with leaves and debris, it can cause a strain on your roof. Ice can be particularly troublesome, as it can thaw and strain your gutters. To make sure your gutter is cleaned properly, flush it out with a hose.

Test Your Sump Pump

Testing your sump pump to make sure it is functioning properly can help prevent a basement from flooding or your home’s foundation suffering immense damage. Repairs for these could prove very costly. A properly functioning sump pump, when plugged in, should have a humming sound.

Check Your Window Wells

Natural light coming into your basement is a great way to provide ventilation. Window wells prevent soil from building up on window fixtures.

If the lining along your window wells fail, you leave your home at risk for flooding. A flood inside your home could require costly repairs.

Clean Your Dryer Vents

The lint inside your dryer, if not properly cleaned out, can present a dangerous fire hazard to your home. It is extremely important to regularly clean out your dryer vents to prevent a problem from occurring. Naturally, you will most likely have to do this more often during the colder months, as your dryer will get more use. In addition to preventing a fire from occurring, you will also be improving your energy efficiency.

Check Your Electrical System

The last thing you want to have happen is your electricity failing when it gets really cold! To ensure this does not happen, you should inspect your breaker wire for bad insulation and any discoloration.

If you need any assistance, it is a good idea to hire an experienced electrician to do a thorough inspection for you.

Bleed Your Radiators

This process should be completed every winter. Turn on all of your radiators to the highest temperature possible. Wait a few minutes and then turn of the central heating system to give them time to cool off. Turn off the radiator and open the bleed valve. Place a tray underneath the valve and let the air escape. Any water that escapes will be caught by the tray. Do not be alarmed when you see the water dripping. It is perfectly normal.

Avoid Ice Dams

When temperatures drop to freezing conditions, ice dams can form that prevent melting snow from draining properly. When this happens, you leave your home at risk of leaks in ceilings, insulations, and walls that could prove extremely costly.

Increase ventilation and add insulation in order to regulate the temperature of your roof. Any air leaks should be properly sealed.

Prevent Your Exterior Pipes From Freezing

This might be the most important step you can take to protect your home during the winter months. If a frozen pipe cracks and thaws, it can release hundreds of gallons of water in a single day. This could present a disastrous problem for your home as well as your wallet.

Inspect your pipes for signs of weakness. If you see any moisture on faucets and connectors, it could mean your pipes are nearing their decline and are in need of replacement. Do this as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic damage.

All of your pipes should be properly drained. It does not hurt to check on this a second time a few days later to make sure that all water has fully drained.

To provide extra protection for your exterior pipes, a foam covering is a great way to add some extra insulation.

Prepare for Winter Storms

Winter can bring harsh weather conditions consisting of heavy rain, snow, sleet, and hail. If you have a generator, take the necessary steps to make sure it is functioning properly. It is a good idea to keep back up batteries for flashlights the event of a power outage.

Having a battery-powered radio is a good way to stay informed with regard to changing weather conditions or local emergencies.