It seems to happen in the blink of an eye.

First, the kids go back to school. Then, the leaves turn from green to yellow, orange and red, then they are off. Next thing you know the holidays are here and past – hello, winter!

But before you go “dashing through the snow,” there are some things both homeowners and renters should consider doing to make it through harsh Ohio weather.

Make sure your home is ahead of the weather storms by doing these 5 tips:

  1. Check the Gutters – Prevent ice dams by cleaning out your gutters, installing gutter guards (if feasible) and making sure the attic floor is properly insulated. The attic itself should be well-ventilated and about 10 degrees warmer than outside.  Of course, don’t walk on your roof in winter.
  2. Protect the Pipes – Protect against frozen pipes by insulating those that could be susceptible to freezing. With severe temperature drops, keep a stream of water running in a few faucets to guard against freezing and bursting.
  3. Stop the Slips – Keep driveways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow and repair any issues with steps and handrails.
  4. Have Heating Checked – Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to clear any buildup and to keep them running efficiently.
  5. Seal the Cracks – Caulk around holes and openings to help prevent cold air from seeping in. Install weather stripping and seals around openings such as windows, doors, air conditioners and mail chutes.
  6. Test Your Detectors – Smoke detectors have a limited life expectancy, check yours for an expiration date and replace if necessary.  Normal life expectancy is 6 years.  The newer ones last 10 years.  So if you have a really old one it may not work even if you change the batteries.  Hard wired smoke detectors also have the same limited life expectancy as their battery powered counterparts.   Be safe, replace them.
  7. House the Hose – If not done already, remove all attached garden hoses, drain them and store them away. Shut off the valves and insulate the faucet.
  8. Install an Emergency Release – Consider installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect against increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can prevent them from bursting. It’s also a good idea to learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located.

Now, enjoy those fireplace-filled weekends knowing you’re well-prepared for the winter!