When your neighbors find ways to manage winter weather that you might not have thought of, it could be more than a case of envy or curiosity that makes you take note. “Keeping up with the Joneses” when it comes to improvements that make your home safer in winter not only can protect your family from slip-and-fall accidents, they also have the added benefits of increasing wintertime curb appeal and saving you money.
Below are five ways you can make your home's winter-weather strategy something even the Joneses will envy:
1. Install a heated driveway
Snow and ice accumulation on your driveway may be an eyesore, but it is certainly dangerous. An underground hydronic system that circulates antifreeze and water through sub-pavement PVC piping will keep all or strategic parts of your driveway snow/ice free without the need to shovel. However, the downside is the price: heated driveways are expensive to install.
2. Lay down snow melting mats
If you like the idea of a heated driveway but aren’t into the price, then you can get the same results for much less money by putting down driveway-grade snow-melt mats. There are also snow-melting mats designed for sidewalks, walkways, entry areas, and outdoor staircases. You can even put these slip-resistant, rubber mats down on decks and patios to create a warm, safe, and clear path to your hot tub!
3. Install an outdoor hot tub
Speaking of hot tubs, is there anything better than hot-tubbing in winter? The mix of cold, crisp air and hot, bubbling water (and maybe even some falling snow) makes for a magical experience. The secret to enjoying your hot tub in winter is to keep the perimeter of the tub — and a path to and from your house — clear of snow and ice. This is where the snow-melting mats are helpful. They not only keep the area clear, but they also prevent the formation of black ice.
4. Get your roof 100% ready for the winter
Winter is the hardest time of year for your roof. To prevent leaks and blow-offs, in autumn make sure your roof is in tip-top shape. Is there flashing that needs to be nailed down? Are there any cracks in the tar around the chimney or in the caulk around roof vents? Have any shingles fallen off or become loose? If the shingles are old and will soon need replacing, why wait? It makes sense to do it before winter hits.
5. Prepare landscaping for winter
Come spring, your home's curb appeal will be greatly enhanced if you prepare your landscaping for the winter. Here are some tips:
- Never plant new grass late in the fall since it may not acclimate well when cold weather arrives
- Never use rock salt at the edges of pavement where flowers and plants are located since it can cause them to defoliate and even die
- Put plenty of mulch around the base of trees and shrubs to help insulate their roots
- Be sure your yard drains well so that snow melt-off won’t freeze over your sod and lead to "winter kill"
Safety is the point of these suggestions. However, a good winter strategy may not only reduce the risk of accidents and even save you money, but you just might give those Joneses an idea or two they hadn’t thought of.