5 tips to make sure your home is ready for winter

(BPT) – It’s a chilling thought, but winter is coming fast. Snow, sleet, ice and brisk winds are all on their way. You can’t avoid winter’s pending arrival, but you can prepare for it. If you haven’t already, start your preparations today because once the first few flurries fall, it will be too late.

To help you survive and thrive during the year’s coldest season, here are five things you need to do to get everything ready for winter.

* Make sure the roof is ready. When the snow starts to fall, undetected problems with your home’s roof could cause ice dams, structural damage and flooding inside the home. Prevent these disastrous outcomes by clearing debris from your gutters. It is especially important you remove leaf and plant material before it can clog your downspouts. Using a leaf blower gutter kit you can carefully clean out gutters and then inspect the roof for any damaged or missing shingles that may need to be replaced. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing on your roof, hire the services of a trained professional.

* Have the right snow blower for the job. When your driveway is covered in snow, there is no household tool more important than a dependable snow blower. If you live in the northern part of the country, the Husqvarna ST 230P is perfect for clearing snow from large driveways or paths. The ST 230P has been designed to handle snow falls up to 12 inches and its efficient two-stage system offers maximum high throwing capacity. And for homeowners that need a more compact snow blower, there’s the Husqvarna ST 111. Designed to clear hard, flat surfaces, this snow blower’s compact design makes it easy to steer, and its rubber auger protects your sidewalk or driveway beneath. Pick the model that best serves you and you’ll be ready for any winter snowstorm.

* Protect against frozen pipes. Water damage cost homeowners an average of $ 1,000 to $ 3,500 in 2015, according to Home Advisor. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a ruptured pipe in your basement, you can expect the bill to be slanted toward the high end — especially if you were out of town when it happened. You can protect against frozen pipes by covering the pipes on exterior walls with a towel or blanket to keep them warm. Then, on the coldest nights, let water drip slowly from the faucet. This continual water movement will prevent the pipes from freezing.

* Have your furnace serviced. You’ll rely on your furnace throughout the season, so have it serviced before temperatures plummet. A trained technician can make sure your furnace is running properly and that your vents are clear. From there it’s up to you. Make sure to replace your furnace filter once a month and vacuum vents to encourage easy air flow.

* Get your car is ready for the season. Your home is your castle during the winter months, and you’ll need your car to be your chariot. Make sure it’s up to the task by equipping it with all-season or snow tires and having a mechanic provide a winter tune-up. Finally, in case things go poorly, you should also pack a winter survival kit in your vehicle. The kit should include bottled water, snack bars, warm blankets and clothing, an emergency cell phone, medical supplies, a small shovel and cat litter for tire traction.

The winter months include some of the best times of the year — and some of the worst weather as well. However, if you employ the tips above and spend some time focusing on preparation now, there’s no reason you and your home can’t enjoy a beautiful winter season and emerge in tip-top shape on the other side.

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