Fall is the Time to Prepare Your Chicago Home for Winter

Slanted Roof with Beautiful Fall Leaves inside the Gutters
Slanted Roof with Beautiful Fall Leaves inside the Gutters

The air in Chicago is turning crisp; the leaves are changing colors and it is officially fall. There are many chores and small things to get done around the house both inside and out. You can’t keep procrastinating because before you know it, the snow will be falling. However, now is the time to get those little items done which can make a big difference on how your home stays maintained during the harsh Chicago winters.
The majority of the tasks can be done by you and are well within your capability. If you choose to spend the extra money and hire a professional, that works too. Either way, it will help you save money in the long run. 
Roof: If you plan on starting on the outside, the best place to begin is on the roof. One of the biggest issues that homeowners can have is a leaky roof. Once the dripping starts, it is hard to find the initial source of the leak! You want to inspect your roof and have no issues prior to winter. Inspecting your roof is an easy process. Start by using binoculars when on a ladder to get a better view of your roof’s structure. Wind damage can cause cracks in the shingles and the areas around chimneys and vents. Examine the whole roof for curled, damaged or missing shingles. If you notice large amounts of granules in your gutters that could be a sign that your roof is starting to lose its coating.
Another issue that not all homeowners think of is television antennas mounted on the roof. Even if you aren’t using it anymore be sure to check if there are any missing or loose wires. If you do notice some and you aren’t using the antenna anymore, think about removing it.
Gutters: To keep the interior of your home, such as the basement, and the exterior from experiencing water damage it is essential to clean out your gutters. Get up on a ladder or the roof to remove any debris and leaves. In order to keep the water flowing smoothly through your gutter system during the winter season, purchase a mesh guard at any hardware store and this will help keep the debris out.
Side Walks, Steps and Driveways: Start at the bottom of your driveway and walk slowly around the whole area inspecting closely for any cracks greater than one-eighth inch wide. Check your sidewalks and stairs leading up to your doors as well and inspect the railings too. If the crack is small, you should be able to make the repair yourself however, if the job is too big or beyond your capability, then research a handyman that can come make the repairs. The last thing you want is this kind of damage when the ice and snow hits the Chicagoland area.
Outdoor Faucets: The Chicagoland area is notorious for its cold, freezing winters. Wind chills below zero, accumulating snow and gusty winds are not unusual during the winter months. If you have outside faucets and/or in ground irrigation system, it is essential to take the time to prepare them for winter.
The preparation is fairly simple as well. First, make sure to shut off the valves that lead to the outside faucets, open the faucets to drain the line of any excess water.  There is a possibility that your faucets are not the type that are freeze proof or don’t have a shut off valve. If that is the case, go to any hardware store or even Amazon and purchase a Styrofoam faucet cover. They cost anywhere from $2.00 to $10 and are easy to install.
For an in ground irrigation system, look at the manufacturer’s instructions on how to drain and protect it from freezing during the winter.
Furnace: Every year you should have your furnace professionally inspected.  Call the company in September to schedule your appointment in order to avoid setting it up at the last minute and potentially not getting some one out to inspect it.
Part of keeping your furnace running smoothly is to change the filter. There are ones that you can change monthly or some that can be changed every 3 months. The filters help to collect the dust that could start accumulating on your walls, ceilings and furniture. Filters that are clogged also prevent you from keeping your home’s temperature properly regulated and causing you’re utility bills to increase. That is something none of us want!
CO and Smoke Detectors: Replacing the batteries in your smoke and CO detectors should be done each year. After replacing the batteries, take a soft brush and clean off any dust that has accumulated on the units.  Make sure to test each unit out by pressing the test button. Having a smoke detector on every floor in your house including the basement is an important safety feature that shouldn’t be overlooked.
These are just a few fall cleaning items that you want to take care of in your home before winter comes to Chicago.
Leave a comment below telling us ways that you get your Chicago home ready for winter.
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3 thoughts on “Fall is the Time to Prepare Your Chicago Home for Winter”

  1. Nice article Lauren, the only thing you might want to add in the future, if you have a programmable thermostat with batteries, you should change the batteries, the furnace will not run if the batteries loose their energy.