get the word on winter home maintenance

It’s that biting chill that works its way through light sweaters and leather boots; the switch from iced coffee to hot lattes; that rare overcast day that makes us want to cozy up with a book — these are just a few of the many signs that Colorado is facing the onset of winter. While this transition brings with it the excitement of skiing, snowy adventures and the holiday season, it’s also a sign to review your home maintenance task list prior to the wintry months.

Preparing your home for winter in Colorado requires attention to the systems that make houses comfortable, such as heating and sealing. Extra care should be taken to maintain the home’s safety as well — leaks, low branches and dirty chimneys can become hazardous when not properly addressed. Below, we have compiled the top winter home maintenance tasks that should be tackled before the holiday season.

beat the cold

By November, Boulder and Denver homes are due for a furnace inspection to ensure that all heating elements are working properly. The sooner the inspection is complete, however, the better — if any systems or components are failing, residents will need ample time to order a new furnace or parts for repairs. Even if the furnace is in tip-top shape, the home’s ductwork system will likely need to be vacuumed of dander, pollutants and harmful bacteria. At minimum, residents should change their HVAC filters.

Enjoying the warmth of a fireplace is a cold-weather pleasure many homeowners enjoy throughout winter. Prior to igniting that first cozy fire, it’s important to clean fireplaces and chimneys thoroughly to avoid harmful buildup. Although gas fireplaces do not create smoke and need no chimney maintenance like their wood-burning counterparts, it’s still important to undergo a thorough professional cleaning at least once a year.

In the Front Range, residents can experience ice-cold temperatures and sweat-inducing sunshine all within the same day. Investing in a smart home thermostat assures that the home temperature stays within a comfortable range when inclement weather hits Denver and Boulder. Connected thermostats can be accessed remotely via app, which means that winter travelers can monitor their homes’ temperatures from the slopes.

tackle the landscape

Thoughtfully placed trees, shrubs and hardscaping add value to a property by lowering heating and cooling bills and creating gorgeous curb appeal. On the flip side, landscaping can also pose a hazard during winter storms, especially if any branches reach over the home’s roof. The weight of heavy snowfall and the power of winter gusts can cause branches to snap and fall.

Consult a local landscaping company to determine the best path of landscape maintenance for the winter months. Companies like Lifescape Colorado offer a scope of services to keep backyards healthy all while minimizing the risk of property damage during winter storms. As an added bonus, Lifescape can also plant seasonal shrubs — and even install holiday lighting — to give homes an extra dose of luminance during the darker months. Some landscape companies may even offer to clear out sprinkler systems to ensure that they function properly next spring and summer.

Since Denver and Boulder can experience sunny 70-degree days even in the coldest months, it may be tempting to leave out patio furniture to enjoy the frequent sunshine throughout winter. Colorado’s sudden temperature shifts may wreak havoc on furniture sets made of wood or metal, rendering many patio sets unusable in the spring and summer months. Take care to refinish furniture or invest in pieces that can handle the unexpected.

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check for leaks and drafts

Even the newest homes can become less weatherproof over time. Leaky ceilings and drafty windows are a nuisance even in warmer months, but in the winter, these gaps in ceilings, walls and windows can be hazardous. Consult a local handyman or home maintenance concierge to address areas that need to be weather-sealed, such as doorways and older windows.

As Colorado experiences heavier snowfall, the likelihood of leaks becomes more apparent. November is an ideal time to address the health of a home’s roof, although full replacements may need to wait until warmer weather. Patching leak-prone areas will help throughout the winter months until a full roof replacement is needed.

Homeowners aren’t the only ones that want a refuge from the cold. Squirrels, raccoons and mice will seek out any warmth they can find throughout winter, even if that means hiding away in an attic. A quick check of the roof’s perimeter, air vents and chimneys is vital to ensure that animals cannot find an entryway into the home.

DIY home maintenance can be risky; consult your local home maintenance company to ensure your home is ready for this winter.