You already know the winter weather puts a different type of strain on your house than the summer hail and thunderstorms cause, but you may not realize the extent of different approaches toward preparing your home and maintaining it during the winter freeze. The single most important aspect of properly maintaining your home during winter weather is awareness, that is to say, to make visual inspections of the exterior after a storm and to pay attention for any drafts around windows and doors or cold spots in the house.
Being Aware of Typical Storm Damage in Your Area
Visual inspections include knowing what types of typical storm damage to look for. Nobody expects you to be an expert, that's the contractor's job, but you should know some basic indications of a potential problem. If you have an ongoing business relationship with a contractor, he'll be happy to explain a few things to look for based on his experience. You can also ask friends and neighbors for advice, especially if you're new to the area as winter storms in Minnesota can cause nuanced problems people who live further south don't experience.
Assessing Your Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are the most common culprits for heat loss, and therefore, higher power bills during the winter. You may not realize there is a draft during the warmer months but notice it when the weather gets cold. In some cases it can be repaired by removing the casing and adding calk and insulation, other times the window may need replacement. Although you don't think of winter as an appropriate time to replace windows, the experienced contractor is going to use a system of prep work so there are only a few minutes between actually removing the old window and setting the new one in place. The savings and comfort of eliminating the draft is going to be well worth such a minor temporary inconvenience.
Although a missing piece of siding is never a good thing for your house, it is especially bad in winter. Moisture gets behind the siding and freezes, loosening the nails and causing more siding to become compromised. Another consideration is if your heating bill seems to be higher than it should for a house the size of yours, or it immediately feels cold when the thermostat turns off the heat, it may be appropriate to consider a new siding system with integral insulation properties.