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The time to tackle outdoor projects that will protect your home from costly winter damage is before the annual onslaught of freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. Taking these extra steps now can save trouble, time, frustration, and money later.

Clean Your Gutters

One of the most important steps in battling winter is cleaning gutters. Once trees have finished dropping their leaves, it is essential to have gutters cleared. Clumps of wet, then frozen, leaves are the primary cause of gutter damage. So, clear the path for melting and drainage before fall rain and winter snow start falling.

Debris-clogged gutters trap water and ice, allowing overflow to damage the roof or the ground immediately around the home’s foundation. A frozen mix of water and debris inside gutters causes them to burst, crack, or detach from the house, and water pooled around foundations can lead to a whole other set of troublesome issues for basements.

An abundance of large icicles can indicate an ice dam, which occurs when too much heat in the attic causes the bottommost layer of snow on the roof to melt during the day. Then, it freezes at night, creating a large sheet of ice that adds additional stress to already burdened roofs and gutters.

Ellen recommends calling up the gutter cleaning experts at Clean Gutter Services and let Troy know Ellen sent you – 913-710-2369

Leaf Removal

Colorful autumn leaves are beautiful on the trees but a nuisance when they fall and cover the ground. Besides the dangers they pose to gutters, they can create problems for lawns and gardens.

Grass prepares for winter dormancy during the fall, but when covered by a layer of leaves, it cannot get the sunlight it needs. Leaves also capture moisture and make it hard for water to evaporate, which can cause fungi and plant diseases to spread across the yard, damaging or even killing the grass. Wet, slippery leaves also pose a safety risk, and should a visitor fall, legal liabilities arise.

Skip breaking your back this year bagging up pile after pile of leaves by calling up the leaf pros at Envision Lawn & Tree! Schedule a pick-up time with Envision and all you have to do is blow or rake all the leaves in your yard down to the street. They will take it from there with their specialized leaf vacuum truck! Or, if you prefer a complete leaf cleanup, where they do it all, you can sign up online for that too.

Lawn and Trees

Give lawns a jump on spring by aerating, seeding, and applying winter fertilizer in the fall. This helps grass survive the cold and makes it more likely to grow when rising temperatures thaw the ground. Also, unearth flower bulbs for replanting later.

This is also a great time to have trees around the house trimmed. Heavy snow and ice will cause weak limbs to break and possibly damage buildings, leading to expensive repairs.

Sprinkler System Shutdown

Underground sprinkler systems should be winterized before the ground fully freezes. That means simply removing all the water from the pipes. Even a very small amount left behind can freeze and expand enough to burst pipes, crack valves, damage sprayers, and more. Some homeowners opt to open the system’s lowest valve and let gravity do the work, but to ensure that every last drop is removed, call professionals who will use specialized air compressors guaranteed to remove all moisture.

It is also important to make sure all outdoor faucets are ready for winter, too. Detach all hoses, drain them, and shut off the interior valves. Then, place insulating covers, easily found at any hardware store, over the faucets.

Ellen’s go-to guy is Matt at KC Sprinkler Pros! 

Check Your Winter Equipment

It’s a given that shovels and ice melt sell out fast when the first snow falls, so stock up beforehand. Also, make sure that snow blowers are working properly before they’re needed.

Patio Prep

Lastly, don’t forget patios and decks. Bring potted plants inside and store or cover your outdoor furniture. Give the grill a thorough last cleaning, which will avoid a tougher, messier job if postponed to spring. Detach the propane tank from a gas grill, store it in a well-ventilated space, and purchase a grill cover to protect what is often an expensive and much-used piece of equipment from the winter’s harsher elements.

Looking for more tips to prepare your home for winter? Check out Ellen’s EZ Fall Home-Prep Checklist!