One of the many perks of nearly year-round sunshine in Colorado? Sunny bluebird days throughout the winter — even after a snowfall.One of the many perks of nearly year-round sunshine in Colorado? Sunny bluebird days throughout the winter — even after a snowfall. 

But regardless of all the sunshine, there are some important home maintenance tasks you should be thinking about before the first snow hits.

Boulder County regularly sees 75”-125” of snow per season — that’s 6 to 10 feet!

That’s a lot of extra weight on your roof. Although sunshine helps melt the snow, if your gutters and window wells are full of dead leaves, adding snow and ice to the mix can lead to roof damage, broken gutters and water leakage.

In the case of a serious storm, home damages can rack up fast. Colorado reported almost $100 million in damage over two days in the Blizzard of March 2003.

But with just a little bit of prep, you can make sure your roof, gutters, and window wells are ready for whatever winter throws your way, saving you money and any potential repair headaches.

Here’s the Boulder homeowner’s ultimate pre-winter checklist to protect your home from snow and ice.

Clear Off & Inspect Your Roof

It’s fun to “raise the roof” during those holiday parties. But before the winter hits, you’ll want to make sure your roof is ready to endure the snow and ice of the season ahead.

Branches and other lawn debris on your roof could make it harder for snow to melt and fall off, leading to wear and tear on your roof.

Other lawn debris like leaves, pine needles and branches can hold moisture. As the temperature drops, this moisture will turn to ice, leading to extra weight on your roof all winter long.

How to prepare your roof for winter:

Keep Those Gutters Clear of Debris

Next stop after the roof inspection: your gutters.

During the fall, dead leaves and other detritus in the gutters can make it impossible for snow melt to escape your roof. This can cause a backup of ice melt, or even an ice dam.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that builds up on the edges of your roof. This prevents snowmelt from draining.

The resulting backup of water can ruin your roof and leak into your house.

If your gutters are full of leaves, they can get clogged up once heavy snow and ice settle in. All that extra weight could leave you with sagging and even broken gutters.

Not only that but ice dams can also create dangerous icicles that could be dangerous for you and your family!

How to clean out your gutters:

Clean Out Your Window Wells

A clean window well provides a safe escape route in case of fire or other disaster. It’s easier to keep them clear of snow and ice build-up throughout the winter.

After a heavy snowfall, you’ll want to clean out your window wells before the snow has a chance to melt and create mold or leak into your basement.

Dead leaves can hold moisture and freeze, which can lead to ice formations in your wells. Once this ice melts, it can cause leaks.

How to clean out your window wells:

  • Before winter hits, clear out any dead leaves or branches that have piled up over the year.
  • After a snowfall, dig out the snow to keep the well clear and to prevent snowmelt from leaking into your basement.
  • You can also cover your window wells with a clear window well cover that allows light in while keeping snow, ice and leaves out.
  • Clear window well covers are also easily removable, so they aren’t an obstruction if you need to get out of the basement through the window well.

Prepare Your Chimney

Nothing beats cozying up to the fire on a cold snowy night. That is, unless your chimney’s cracked.

Chimneys are typically made of a porous material that can let moisture in. If this material freezes in the winter, you can end up with chimney damage, like cracks or busted seals.

The freezing and thawing that happens throughout the winter and spring in Boulder County can cause cracks over time. But chimney cracks can also be caused by old age, roots from vines, and more.

How to clean out your chimney:

With your roof, gutters, and all the rest ready to go for winter, it’s time to think about other things around the house that you should do to be prepared for the first snow.

From insulation and plumbing to checking your heater and prepping a winter storm supply kit, there are some important things you should do to make sure you’re fully ready for whatever winter throws your way.

Make sure you’re prepped for winter with our snow storm checklist >