Tips to Prepare your Home for the Cold SeasonPublished on October 10th, 2016
Warm days are almost behind us, with just a week or two left of mild fall weather. I’ll be sure to enjoy them as much as I can. This also marks a great time to prepare your home for the cold winter months and give it some much needed tender loving care. Seasonal maintenance can save you hassle and a great deal of money in repairs come spring time. Plus, it will make winter just a little more pleasant.
Do these things to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the spring:
Tend to the Fireplace & Chimney
A fireplace is a home center piece for fall and winter evenings. If you have the luxury of a wood burning fireplace, make sure it is in working order for those crisp evenings. First, check for the damper. It should open and close properly. Then, with a flashlight handy, look up the chimney to check for any stuck branches, leaves, or bird nests that might have found their home there. You will want to get rid of any obstructions to avoid chimney fires. Keep in mind, your chimney should be professionally cleaned of creosote build up every other year.
Lastly, check the firebox for any missing bricks or damage. If you find anything that’s out of your DIY capacity, you’ll want to schedule a professional fireplace inspection.
While we are at it, it wouldn’t hurt to stock up on firewood. When the weather drops, you’ll be happy you did.
Check your Furnace
In case you don’t have a fireplace to warm you up this winter, I suggest checking on your furnace. A professional tune up isn’t costly, and I especially recommend it if you haven’t tended your furnace in a year or longer. It’s easy to forget these things. At the very least, make sure to change your furnace filters, which should be done every 2-3 months.
Check for Drafts
To keep all this warmth inside, and keep your heating bill down, make sure your windows are properly sealed. The easiest way to check for window drafts is to use a candle and watch for it to flicker. Replace seals and repair caulking around window and door frames as necessary. Doing this will not only save your money on energy, but will also keep moisture outside of your home. This is by far the most important part of maintaining your home for fall and winter. And for those especially drafty windows, consider putting up heavier drapes for the winter months.
Clean your Gutters
After all the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters from all the gunk, leaves, and branches. Clogged gutters can cause ice dams which lead to potentially expensive repairs. Your gutters shouldn’t be trapping any water or sagging. If damaged or just too worn, replace with new gutters and sleep good at night.
Plant Fall Bulbs
As a treat to yourself, get a head start on landscaping. It’s always a pleasant surprise when flowers just spontaneously bloom in the spring. You will want to plant the bulbs before the ground freezes. Best flowers to plant in the fall are tulips, iris, and lily.