Now that October is here, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for winter. Resolving small issues before they become big problems will help save you money down the road. Although it’s only autumn now, the nighttime temperatures still drop. This is a perfect time to make sure your home is ready for winter.
Roof problems can result in expensive repairs if not taken care of from the start. Either hire a reputable roofer or grab a ladder and inspect the roof yourself for loose or worn tiles. Check the flashing for leaks and rinse out debris from gutters and downspouts. Consider adding more insulation to your attic to keep warm air from escaping.
Go outside and take a look at all the doors and windows on your home. These areas are an easy place for drafts to form. Make sure doors have weather stripping and use rope caulk to seal any gaps in windows. Look for exposed pipes and seal them if necessary.
Sweep or rake away debris and plant matter from around the foundation of your home. This will allow you to check for cracks and seal them if necessary. Look for dry rot or pest infestation and if there is any found, take care of it immediately before it gets worse.
You can start by trimming trees and bushes if they hang too close to your house or electrical wires. Take a look at your driveway, patio, or deck and see if any areas need to be sealed or repaired. Move any of your non-winter plants indoors before the temperature drops below freezing.
It’s a good idea to cap or screen to top of your fireplace to keep out birds and other small creatures. Make sure the damper works properly and take a look at the bricks to ensure they are in good condition. A fire can easily make its way through cracks in the mortar. If the fireplace hasn’t been cleaned in a while, consider hiring a chimney sweeper to remove excess soot or any nests. Buy or chop firewood and store it in a cool, dry space.
It is a good idea to find your water main valve in case you need to shut it off in the event of an emergency. Make sure any exposed plumbing pipes are insulated, and if you go on vacation, leave the heat on around 55 degrees to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting. If you plan on leaving your home for an extended period of time, you should shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system. Water damage from pipes breaking can be one of the most expensive repairs to make. Winterizing your sprinklers is also a good idea to prevent them from freezing and bursting. You can do this yourself or hire a landscaper to turn off the water supply and blow compressed air through the sprinkler lines to get rid of water.
If your furnace hasn’t been inspected in a while, consider calling an HVAC expert to check it out and clean the ducts. Replace furnace filters and make sure there are no flammable materials near the furnace itself. Turn on the thermostat to 80 degrees and feel the vent for warm air to make sure it is running properly. Consider replacing your old thermostat to a programmable one to save on your energy bill. If you rely on propane or oil for heat, fill up the tank so you are ready for cold weather. Also take a look at your air conditioning unit. Spray the fan blades with a hose to remove debris and cover the unit to keep it clean and dry. If you have an evaporative cooler, shut off the water and cover the unit to avoid a costly draft.
8. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Make sure all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and stock up on extra batteries. Install a carbon monoxide detector close to your furnace and/or water heater. Buy a new fire extinguisher if yours is older than 10 years.
To close/winterize your pool, either hire a reputable pool company or do it yourself, but only if you know how. Closing your pool helps prevent damage caused by freezing water and keeps it in good condition for next season.
10. Emergency Supplies
Stock up on supplies like candles, matches, lighters, flashlights, and batteries incase of a power outage. Also make sure you have access to phone numbers for utility companies in the event of an emergency. Have a supply of non-perishable food and water bottles, including food for pets. Keep a first aid kit handy with basic supplies.
By being ready before winter arrives, you can rest easier knowing that you are prepared for any type of weather. Maintaining your home in excellent condition prevents small problems from turning into larger costly damage and also helps reduce your energy bill.