It may only be September but winter will be here before you know it and these moderate autumn days are a great time to prepare for harsher conditions. There are a number of small and large projects around the house that could prevent major problems, save money and head off headaches.
When it comes to preparing for winter, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some ideas for getting started!
Inspect your shingles. Make sure they’re intact and none are loose or damaged. Compromised or missing shingles will allow for further damage including roof leaks from rain and snow.
Tidy up outdoors. Drain water from the garden hose, gather garden tools, clean outdoor furniture, toys and appliances, empty flower pots of dead flowers and store these things away someplace safe until spring. Turn off exterior faucets and don’t forget to drain the water that remains in them. Have leaves in your yard? Mow over them. The small cut pieces will fall into the grass and decompose, nourishing your lawn through the winter.
Inspect your gutters. Are your gutters and downspouts securely attached to the house? Are they clear of leaves, tree branches and debris?
Call on a heating pro. Have your furnace or heat pump inspected to make sure it’s in good working order and safe to operate. It’s better to spend a little on a maintenance call now than to be without heat on a cold day this winter. While you’re at it, replace the filter and develop a habit of replacing those filters regularly.
Keep warm air inside. Use weather stripping around doors and windows to stop drafts. Replacing door seals and door sweeps is another cost effective way to keep cold air from seeping inside. Use exterior caulk to seal around siding, windows and door frames outside.
Reset your ceiling fan. Did you know that your ceiling fan operates both clockwise and counterclockwise? Put your fans on the clockwise setting to force warm air that gathers near the ceiling down into your living space. Remember to select the slowest speed as a higher speed will cause a draft.
Consider insulation. Check the insulation in your attic and basement. Is there enough to counteract heat loss? Also remember to insulate those pipes to prevent freezing. Frozen pipes can burst, wreaking havoc on your home and budget.
Chimney sweep – If you have a chimney, prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning by hiring a professional to clean your chimney.
Replace batteries – Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working by replacing the batteries and testing them every fall and spring. Heating sources are a leading cause of fire in the winter so keep yourself and your family safe with this small step.
Prepare for emergency. Poor weather can keep you homebound and power outages can create challenges for staying safe and entertained. Stock up non-perishable food supplies and water to last several days. Also keep on hand flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, medicines, pet supplies, gas for the grill and a power bank for cell phones. Don’t forget some board games and books for entertainment as well as salt for the sidewalk, a sturdy snow shovel and gas for the snow blower for digging out after a snowstorm.
Now that you know about preparing your home for winter, do you want to know more about being ready for a snowstorm? Click here for tips from Ready.gov.