It won’t be long before we feel the chill of winter approaching. Is your home ready? The good news is that winterizing your home doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming. With a free afternoon and a little elbow grease, here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your winter will be warmer.
Replace your furnace filter. It’s always a good idea to have a furnace checkup and change your filter before you flip the switch each fall. Filters generally need to be changed every 1-3 months, depending on the type of furnace you have. Once you know the proper filter size, don’t hesitate to buy extra, so you’ll have them on hand the next time. It’s also a great time to change the batteries in your smoke detector and test your carbon monoxide detectors.
Clean out your gutters. Before the first snowfall, clean the autumn leaves and debris from gutters to prevent ice dams and water leaking into the wrong places. This step can prevent dangerous trips to the roof in less-than-optimal weather and help you avoid other costly repairs.
Roll up those hoses. Before night temperatures regularly fall below freezing, roll up your garden hoses and empty your outdoor faucets. Water left in these faucets can freeze and burst, causing flooding, mold and other frustrating and expensive issues. To ensure these faucets are fully clear, simply close the associated interior faucet valves by turning them clockwise all the way to the right. Once you’ve done that, open the outdoor valve to allow any remaining water to drain out.
Check for drafts. When things cool off, it’s usually pretty easy to pinpoint any window and door seals that may not be effective. If you find a window that is letting in too much cool air, consider re-caulking the seal. If you find a door that’s still allowing a breeze, buy a simple weather strip to install in the gap. These adjustments can also lower your heating bill throughout the season!
Prepare your yard. In the fall it’s important to trim your trees to prevent winter damage to your home and to your trees. (Due to the risk of injury, it’s a job left to a professional tree-trimming company if you have tall trees.) Be sure your roof line isn’t competing with any branches and that your power lines are clear and open. Don’t forget to move temperature-sensitive potted plants indoors. You can also get an early jump on next year’s landscaping by planting some winter-hearty bulbs (like tulips or dahlias) for a brighter spring.