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Winter is nearly upon us, which means holiday shopping, sleigh rides through the snow, and a whole lot of cold, wet and windy weather. All of that weather can take a toll on your home and property, so knowing what should be done to prepare your property for harsh winter weather can help make your life a lot easier, and save you quite a bit of money in the process. Here’s a few items to address for planning out your weekend chores list.

Exterior Lights

In case you were unaware, it’s getting dark very early, and you’ll certainly be using your exterior lights quite a bit throughout the winter. Do a quick check around your home to see if you can replace any hard to reach light bulbs before the weather gets too cold to do it. Also, if you’re planning on putting up decorative lights, now would probably be a good time to take care of that.

Gutters

During the spring, summer and fall, your gutters can get clogged with leaves, pine needles, branches and a variety of other items. Clogged gutters in the spring can lead to melting snow that has nowhere to go but straight down to your basement. Scoop out all the gunk in your gutters that you can, and then run a hose through the gutters and downspouts to clear any extra debris that you can’t get to. Ensuring that your drainage systems and gutters are working can help prevent any serious flooding problems for the near future.

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Trim Tree Branches

Ice and snow can put a lot of wear on old and dying tree branches. If those branches happen to hang over electrical cords or your home’s roof, then your home or electrical systems could be at risk. Take extreme caution when trimming branches around electrical wires, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. It may be smart to put the chainsaw away and call the professionals for these situations. Before pruning any overgrown shrubs and bushes, check to make sure that you are not going to be doing them any damage for the winter season. It may also look nice in the winter to have some things overgrown when all other vegetation is so bare.

Home Exterior

You can waste through lots of money on your heating bill if there’s exposed cracks or poor insulation around the exterior of your house. One of the simplest yet overlooked things to do is closing, locking and possibly caulking your windows. Also replace your summer screens with glass replacements if you have them. It reduces the wear and tear on your screens, and that extra bit of air insulation goes a long way in reducing your energy bill. Use weatherstripping on your doors, particularly for your garage if it’s attached to your home. If you have new or exposed wood on your home’s exterior, be sure to prime and paint it to prevent it from being damaged over the winter.

Taking care of your home and property for the winter may take a good chunk out of your Sunday afternoon, but it’s something that’s well worth investing the time into doing, and it’s one less thing you won’t have to worry about during the crazy holiday season.

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