In 2014, there were eight storms and natural disasters exceeding $1 billion in losses across the United States. Boston’s 100.6 inches of snowfall last winter shattered previous records. In October of this year, South Carolina faced record rainfall that led to flash floods, landslides, and evacuations. Considering the severity of these recent weather events, it’s no surprise that weatherproofing your home should be a priority.

But it’s not just the record-breaking storms that can cause damage to your property. Since routine weather conditions can impact your home’s appearance and value, use these weatherproofing ideas to protect your home and be prepared for anything Mother Nature may have to offer!

1. Reinforce windows

Windows and doors let in more air than any other part of the home, so make sure they’re properly sealed to prevent losing money on heating or cooling your home. If you’ve noticed any drafts or leaks, take care of them with caulk or foam tape. Homes in hurricane-prone areas should consider installing hurricane shutters or storm windows for an added level of protection. By eliminating escaping air, your home will be more energy-efficient over time, while you save money on your energy bills.


2. Repair roofing

Through rain, snow, wind, and sun, the roof of your home endures a lot throughout the year. Checking for potential risks both in and outside your home—like water damage on ceilings, or signs of issues with your shingles—may help protect not only your roof, but your entire home. Always replace missing shingles, and keep an eye out for protruding nails that might indicate a loose shingle. Roofers tend to be busiest during the winter, so keep that in mind when planning your maintenance throughout the year.


3. Check gutters and downspouts

While you’re inspecting your roof, there are a few other things to check on, too. Leaves, pine needles, and other debris can collect in your gutters, so you’ll want to periodically remove them. Doing so will prevent ice from forming when the temperature drops, or blockages from stopping up the water. While you’re inspecting your gutters, you can make sure that your downspouts are being diverted away, helping to avoid pools of water near your home’s foundation. You can always hire a professional if this seems too large an undertaking for you and/or your property.


4. Inspect heat sources

When winter is in full swing, the last thing you want are home heating issues. Not to mention that according to the U.S. Fire Administration, problems with heating equipment are the second leading cause of residential fires in the U.S. Stay warm and safe by using the end of fall as time to inspect your heat sources. It may be time to clean or change your furnace filter, fireplaces and chimneys might need to be cleared out before use, and space heaters should be up-to-date with the latest safety features.


5. Store outdoor objects

Keep your outdoor items in great shape for seasons to come by taking care of them year-round. Items like patio furniture, outdoor decorations, grills, and play areas should be periodically cleaned to remove any dirt, spider webs, or mildew. Try to store outdoor objects inside when possible to avoid damage from floodwaters and the weight of snow, and anchor smaller objects from being blown away during strong winds (potentially causing property damage, too).


6. Tend to trees and plants

You spend time making your home’s landscape looking its best throughout the year, so make sure to take a few steps to keep it safe, too. For example, you can cover tender plants, tie vulnerable shrub branches upward, and survey the trees around your home for limbs that might break off in bad weather or high winds. Trimming risky trees limbs can prevent them from falling onto your home or car, but make sure to consult with a professional for any branches that are too large to remove yourself.

By keeping your home weatherproofed year round, you won’t have to rush to prepare when bad weather is forecasted. When it comes to weatherproofing, an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” since taking these steps can keep your home in great shape long-term and prevent homeowner headaches down the line.

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