Old Man Winter is heading our way whether we like it or not, so it’s high time to prepare for his arrival and the upcoming holidays. Fall is the perfect time to take stock of your home and make a handy checklist of tasks necessary to keep it in tip-top shape during the winter. Not sure where to start? Here are a few chores to add to your list.
1. Weatherize Windows and Doors
Take a walk around the exterior of your home and inspect every window and door. Make sure the weather stripping doesn’t have any tears or holes and, if so, replace it to ensure proper insulation and prevent heat loss. Replace screens with storm windows and storm doors, and use caulk to seal any openings. You also should refresh paint where needed.
2. Inspect and Check Heating Systems
Assure all systems are ready to go with your furnace, fireplace, wood burners and any other heating system you have in your home. Inspect chimneys to make sure they are soot free. Check the fireplace for unwanted drafts and inspect the damper. And don’t forget to replace or clean the furnace’s air filter to get the best heat and air quality from your unit! This is a great time to replace an old thermostat with a new programmable one to schedule when the heat is needed if you’ve been considering an upgrade.
3. Prepare the Outside
Preparing the exterior of your home for the winter is just as important as inside. Fall is a great time to aerate and feed your lawn with nutrients to promote healthy growth. Trim any branches away from your house that could fall onto your home during winter storms. Remove dirt from flower pots, then clean and store them in an area protected from the elements. Remove garden hoses and turn off outside water to prevent frozen or burst pipes. Now head over to the deck and inspect it for damaged or warped boards. If you’ve got some trouble spots, you’ll want to contact a professional contractor to paint, replace or repair the deck. Check outdoor lighting and replace any light bulbs or fixtures. Finally, clean patio and deck furniture and cover it with a tarp or store in a garage or shed.
4. Inspect Winter Weather Tools
Make sure all your summer equipment — mowers, edgers, garden tools, etc. — are cleaned and ready for spring jobs. Move them to the back of the garage or shed and make room for the winter tools, like the snow blower, shovels and your generator. Give them a trial run to assure they are ready when you are, and get them serviced if they’re not. Purchase an ice melting product and store it nearby. Now you should be good to go.
5. Check the Roof and Gutters
The roof of your home should be inspected before the first snow falls. Ask a professional to inspect for damaged or missing shingles, deteriorated flashing at the chimney, skylights and vent pipes and ask them to seal it to prevent further damage and possible leaks. Ask them to check the gutters and spouts to make sure they are all fastened securely. Remember to remove all leaves and other debris from gutters so water can run freely through them. You wouldn’t want water to get backed up and cause a leak!