Get ready to be a busy beaver. Even in Broward, where winter weather means putting on a long sleeved hoodie and having brunch indoors, there’s a lot to do toward getting your home ready for cooler weather. Believe it or not, El Niño can have a big impact on our weather patterns, making for a winter that can be up to 33 percent cooler and as much as 70 percent wetter. That might be good news for the water table, but not so much for our sun-spoiled lifestyles. So get it in gear, and get your house winter ready.

  • Check your roof the same way you did before hurricane season. Look for cracked or warped shingles, sagging or discoloration, and clear the roof of any debris that’s accumulated. On the inside, look for any signs of water intrusion such as blistering paint, dampness or condensation, and mold or discolorations.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts so that they don’t back up and overflow in a heavy rain. Make sure that water is directed away from the foundation and that your gutters and downspouts are secure and leak free.
  • Do a critter check. Check attics, chimneys, crawlspaces, vents, and other ingresses for any critters who might be looking for a warm, dry place to winter over. Rodents, raccoons, birds, snakes, and other beasts like to be comfortable, too.
  • Get a tune-up for your HVAC, change air filters, and clean out your ducts and vents to insure a clean, strong, and allergen free airflow.
  • Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries. Mark the outside with a small sticker with the date on it so you know when to do your next check. It’s also a great time of year to get your fire extinguishers checked and recharged if needed.
  • If you have a tank-style water heater, you should give it a flush to blow out the silt and hard water deposits.
  • Check your weather stripping and window screens to make sure that your home is not going to be letting in creepy crawlies or allowing water intrusion and standing water in your windows.
  • Clean out your dryer vents. Believe it or not, thousands of fires start every year due to lint-clogged dryer vents! It will also help lower your energy bills, since a clean vent moves air more efficiently and helps dry clothing faster.
  • If you have a fireplace, hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney. Soot and creosote buildup can cause chimney fires.
  • Check for cracks and lifting in your driveway, walkways, and patio. If wet ground combines with our very rare freezes, you could have a case of frost heave on your hands as the freezing water expands and lifts your surfacing.

Follow these tips for peace of mind all winter, and the comfortable enjoyment of your home. Not to mention, doing these things lessens the likelihood of you having to call us to start a claim!