It’s cold outside is your house prepared for winter?

Here is part 1 of our suggestions to help your home weather the winter storm.

West Michigan is known for many things, including its kraft Beer, shopping, the Lake Michigan lakeshore, Grand Valley State University, and all of the amenities you’d expect from a world-class metropolitan area. However, one of the biggest things West Michigan is known for is its snowy winter weather. Whether you are a newcomer to the area or are just looking for some ideas to make your home winterization more productive, here are our tips for preparing your home for a West Michigan winter. 

West Michigan Climate
West Michigan’s climate is quite variable, with frequent precipitation year-round. Being surrounded by the Great Lakes, the weather here is hot and humid in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. 

West Michigan Winter Weather
While the average West Michigan winter temperature hovers just below freezing, it is not unusual for there to be cold spells with much lower, sub-zero temperatures. And because of the amount of water in the atmosphere, severe snowstorms are not uncommon.

As the weather starts to moderate, you’ll have a combination of ongoing precipitation and snowmelt, resulting in a reasonably soggy situation in the late winter and early spring. 

Winterizing a Home
If you live in a cold climate like West Michigan, you should winterize your home indoors and out–this will help keep systems running and avoid plumbing damage and water intrusion. It’s helpful to put in place a routine maintenance plan each fall, as well as ongoing maintenance and monitoring throughout the winter. 

Winterizing Doors and Windows
If your home does not currently have double pane windows, install storm doors and windows to provide additional protection from cold winds and blowing snow. You should check seals around doors and windows to prevent any possible areas for drafts. Recaulk or install new weather stripping, if needed.   

Winterizing Fireplaces and Chimneys
It is essential to check fireplaces and chimneys each fall to ensure that they are free of debris and in good working order. Check dampers for dents, cracks, or malfunctions, and make sure that fireplace doors are correctly sealed to avoid losing heat through the chimney. 

Winterizing Outdoor Spaces
Grills and outdoor furniture should be cleaned, covered, and stored during the winter months. Clear dirt and leaves from stonework and pavement to prevent them from holding water and ice. Besides ensuring that you have an adequate supply of snow shovels, gloves, and snowmelt, consider heated mats or in-ground heating systems for walkways and driveways. 

Winterizing Basements
If you have not already waterproofed your basement, it is essential to do so. You will experience several feet of snow melting and refreezing, which can do a great deal of damage to a poorly insulated basement. As much as possible, keep snow away from your home’s foundation and check for exhaust openings from laundry rooms and heating systems to ensure that all pipes and openings are kept clear. 

Winter Insulation
Ensure that your attic or crawl space is adequately insulated either with sheet insulation or blown-in insulation. Make sure that the door is also covered, perhaps with a panel of insulation material stapled to the inside. 

Additional Cold Weather Tips
Rather than waiting until winter, start your cold-weather prep in the fall. West Michigan can start experiencing freezing temperatures in late October or early November, so the sooner you get started, the better. 

To ensure that all of your systems are in good repair as you move into the winter months, have a general contractor or company come out and inspect your home’s systems. At that time, they may make any necessary repairs or do some scheduled maintenance to ensure optimum performance throughout the long, cold winter. 

The following should be on your list for inspection: 

HVAC: Have your heating system and ductwork cleaned and inspected. Since many West Michigan homes still use heating oil, ensure that you have an adequate supply on hand and have your storage tank checked as well. 

Exterior: Have your roof, chimneys, gutters, and downspouts inspected as well as window casings and door frames. Check for any unpainted, exposed woodwork which will need to be treated to protect it from months of moisture. 

Plumbing: Have your plumbing thoroughly checked to ensure that there are no existing cracks or leaks. Also, ensure that there is adequate insulation around exposed pipes, especially those located in attics or basements or along exterior walls. 

Landscaping: Check that tree branches are healthy and trim if necessary–this is especially important for branches that hang over structures on your property or your driveway. Heavy, wet snow or ice can weigh down untrimmed branches or unhealthy, rotting trees. If your landscaping has an in-ground sprinkler system, it will need to be inspected and flushed to prevent leaks or breakage from expanding water lines. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to preparing for winter.
Are you looking for a new construction home in West Michigan? Macatawa Homes is a leading home builder, specializing in energy-efficient and stylish designs to help you save money throughout those long West Michigan winters. You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind of new home construction and the latest innovations in building practices. Shoot us an email or schedule an appointment so we can sit down and get your dream home started.