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As the snow falls, the winds pick up speed, and the temperature drops, we rely on our homes to keep us warm, safe, and content. That’s why it’s critical to keep our homes prepared for the cold temperatures, especially in areas that experience freeze-thaw cycles.

With your home winter-ready, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises like a damaged driveway, critters running around your home, or a broken heating system. Even if you’re in the middle of a cold season, it’s not too late to take some of the following steps:

#1 Maintain Your Driveway

The cold temperature can be harsh on your driveway, resulting in cracks, potholes, and other costly issues that can damage your home’s foundation, cars and hurt people. Remember to use metal icepicks, metal shovels, and de-icing salts only when required to protect your driveway.

It’s also important to use a good local contractor to maintain your driveway to improve its longevity. For example, when Canadians need driveway repairs in Ottawa — they always turn to a reputable asphalt care company like Seal A Drive for the best service. With the right service team, you can protect your driveway from the elements.

#2 Perform Outdoor Upkeep

While it’s a good idea to perform outdoor upkeep before winter starts, it’s never too late to clean out the gutters and the gutter guards, get rid of debris and clean debris from your yard, lawn, and driveway to prevent blockages and fall hazards.

#3 Get Your Heating System Serviced

While you should replace your furnace filter every three months, you should have your HVAC system serviced once a year to keep it in optimal condition and improve air quality. This is especially important in the winter as you and your family stay indoors. Remember to pop open the window for a few minutes every day to let fresh air into your home.

#4 Take Care of Your Pipes

Please keep your heating on, even if you’re not at home. Otherwise, the water in your pipes may freeze and burst later, resulting in catastrophic damage to your basement or kitchen. If the weather is particularly cold, then turn on the taps every day for a moment, just to keep the circulation going.

If you’re going on a trip, then learn how to turn off the water supply and drain the pipes to avoid headaches from a ruptured pipe when you return.

#5 Call Pest Control

Be proactive and call pest control before mice, squirrels, raccoons, make their way into your home for a warm place during the winter. An experienced pest control agent can examine your house for entry points and seal them to stop critters from entering your attic, basement, or walls. If creatures are already in your home, a pest control agent can find a humane way to get them out too.

#6 Check Your Smoke Detectors

Unfortunately, many fire incidents take place during the winter, with people spending more hours at home. You should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every room and have a fire escape plan. Please check them periodically in case you need to change batteries.

These are six house maintenance tips you should follow to stay safe and enjoy the coldest season of the year.