You prepared your home for winter as homeowners do every year. How's that going so far?
Mid-way through the winter (Yes, I am an optimist by nature.), how well have your plans and precautions worked out? Are there things you should have done and now regret patching temporarily or skipping? Are there precautions you took that appear not to have been necessary - so far?
For many, winters are not what they were. "Seasonal" and "normal" no longer apply to much of our local weather. Eastern states had weeks of "unseasonally" warm fall weather while many southern states have struggled with "unseasonally" wet and snowy weather. Standard preparation for seasonal or normal winter weather in your location may not include enough precautions. Preparation should be as extreme as our weather.
Will this winter teach you to expand stockpiling and equipment acquisition to include coverage for weather beyond the norm?
If snowfall is atypically extreme, you may benefit from broadening resourcefulness by adding flood clean-up supplies to your shopping list ready for the spring melt. In addition, prepare your property. For instance, make sure lot grading will carry water away from your home.[bullet] If snow was a rare event, but colder weather is no longer a complete surprise, play it safe by insulating exposed pipes or having necessary supplies on hand for burst-pipe clean-up.
If severe storms are increasingly more likely, compile a "be prepared" list of recommended professional services, so you're ready to quickly arrange high-quality repairs - everything from roof and windows to collapsed hillsides and burst pipes. This knowledge will ensure fast recovery from unexpected damaging weather.
If you have mature landscaping, protect your investment shrubs and trees from high winds and other potential damage. Think ahead because replacement with smaller, younger plants will change the look of your garden and potentially the curb appeal of your real estate.
Stop everything and celebrate when unseasonal pleasant weather appears. Make sure you take advantage of every minute.
The best time to prepare for winter 2018 is right now. As well as taking monthly and post-storm inspection walks around the outside of your buildings and around the perimeter of your property:
Make note - jot on the calendar, add to your phone, open that file - of anything that could use adjustment, seems worn out, or that frustrates you now. For instance, last winter, I spent too much time hauling bags of salt from the rear garage when the front sidewalk iced over. Last fall, I modified front-yard garden storage, so a few bags of salt can be stored close at hand, ready for easy winter application.
Consider how accessible your home is. If you have stairs and decks, are they in great shape with solid railings and adequate lighting? Do you keep sidewalks and paths in good condition and clear of ice and snow? Consider your liability if someone is injured on your property. Does your home insurance policy reflect current liability levels for your area? Also, make sure your policy has been up-dated to include any increase in property value should storm or other damage occur.
Connect with your real estate professional during the usually calmer winter markets to receive your annual up-date on real estate values and projected spring markets.
Check electronic and internet-connected systems as thoroughly as heating and other essential systems. Change passwords regularly and ensure they are strong (Weak ones like "god" and "password" are still too popular). Back up phones and computers regularly. Up-date software and virus protection.
Pay attention to what is happening around you. Monitor near-by areas and locations physically similar to yours to learn what simple changes to your home or landscaping might give you the advantage if those conditions strike. What supplies might you need? If you wait until disaster strikes, store shelves may be empty.
Once you get your home in great shape for the second half of winter, you can begin considering the demands spring weather is going to make.
Final future thought…Think ahead to book the best professionals and get a early start on your spring project. Otherwise, you may be forced to wait until after the best seasonal summer weather to complete that new garden, deck, or pool.