Preparing a home and yard for cold weather, snow and ice, and rain and wind is important to prolong the life of the property and keep the family warm without spending a fortune. While some of the more complicated tasks will require a professional, most of the work can be completed as diy (Do-It-Yourself) projects. This will save the family money and improve handyman skills for family members.
It may seem like heavy snowfall will hide all the work not yet finished, and it will, but that is not the purpose of getting yard work done before winter. Cleaning the yard and clearing out leaves, twigs, and debris is essential to keep wildlife from taking up residence. Piles of leaves make perfect nesting and burrowing areas for squirrels, skunks, and chipmunks. Small spaces between the shed and the ground are just large enough for rodents to squeeze in and get out of the cold. A few nails, some tarp material, and making sure those spaces are closed will prevent damage to the shed and whatever is stored inside.
Netting around the bottom of the porch, stairs, or deck will keep skunks from burrowing near the foundation. Skunks spend the winter in large groups for warmth. They need to forage for nourishment at least every week as they do not completely hibernate. They may not be noticed during the winter, but there will be massive damage and a terrible odor to deal with come spring.
This maintenance will require a professional for proper inspection and to complete any repairs needed. The inspection cost is minimal and knowing the condition of the roof before that first snow storm hits is helpful. A minor repair left unattended, will be a major problem in the spring. A few shingles missing may become half a roof of shingles missing come April.
Caulking and weather-stripping windows and doors, changing the filter in the furnace, and adding drapes or lined curtains to the windows will prevent drafts and keep the furnace running efficiently. Closing bedroom doors for the day and opening them an hour before retiring will help keep costs down. Make sure there are plenty of candles, matches, and flashlights available in case of power outages.