As the weather becomes brisker, and the leaves begin to change colors and fall, you should take some time to prepare your home for winter. Doing these things ahead of time can save you money in the long-run, and prevent you from being out in the cold.
Heating System Tune-up
You should change your filter monthly. Have an HVAC technician give your system a good once over. Fixing something before it is irreparable could save you time, money and stress; one faulty part could cause a trickle-down effect. You’ll also save yourself from paying an “emergency rate” for after hours or weekend work when something breaks unexpectedly.
If you have a gas heater, pick up a carbon monoxide detector at the hardware store. Don’t forget to reverse your ceiling fans to push heated air down from the ceiling.
Finally, do a quick check of the weather-stripping around your doors and windows. Replace where you feel cool air coming in to keep your heat from escaping.
Clean and Inspect Your Roof and Gutters
Clear any debris from your roof that may cause snow to accumulate and add unnecessary weight. Also, clean any fall leaves from your gutters as clogged gutters will cause water to spill over and freeze on walkways next to your foundation.
Disconnect hoses and use an indoor valve if possible to shutoff water leading to outside faucets. If you have a back-up generator, test it out and make sure you have plenty of fuel on hand.
Stow your lawn equipment
Before winter weather arrives, run your mower until the tank is dry. Leaving fuel in the tank over the winter will cause difficulty when you try to start it in the spring.
Prune any limbs that are close to your home or hanging over power lines leading to your home, but do not get overzealous! Horticulturists advise waiting until late winter to prune most plants when they’ve been dormant for months and sprint growth is just about to begin. Only prune the limbs that may cause winter problems.
Inspect Your Chimney
If you’re planning on setting the mood with your fireplace, this one is a MUST. Call a certified chimney sweep to inspect the chimney and vents. This can prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace.
Prepare Winter Emergency Kit
- Buy a fire extinguisher, or check the charge on the one you already have
- Keep some non-perishable and semi-perishable foods on hand
- Forego the candles for LED flashlights, hundreds of fires are started every year during power outages by candles
- Know where your tools are in case you have to do any mini repairs in the midst of a storm
- Make sure your cell phone is charged and buy a car charger in case you need to top it off while your power is out
- Keep plenty of adequate clothing and heavy blankets on hand to keep warm
- Find some fun board games or a good book to entertain you through a night or two with no television