Green is giving way to red, orange and yellow hues in the trees around town. The air is brisk. The morning dew is overtaking vehicles left out overnight. The sun’s daily march is increasingly shorter. The signs are apparent and Fall is officially here.
While the changing seasons can be a beautiful experience for the senses, it can be quite the negative experience for your house or your budget if not properly prepped for the colder weather. Consider these tips when getting yourself and your home ready for decreasing temperatures and winter weather on the horizon.
Clean the gutters, remove tree branches or any other debris.
Ventilate attic and insulate attic floor to avoid ice dams in gutters.
Repair any roof leaks; ensure it can sustain the weight of heavy snowfall.
Branches vulnerable to being weighted down with snow or ice should be cleared away from the house or any powerlines.
Disconnect, drain and store hoses and shut off any water valves.
Divert water with downspout extensions ensuring rain and snow melt drains away from the house.
Drain lawn irrigation system.
Brush away leaves and other debris from in between boards of wooden decks to reduce mold growth.
Move seasonal tools and furniture inside and prep for storage.
Ensure outdoor lighting is working properly to help prevent injuries.
Check that handrails and exterior stairs are properly secured or safe.
Aerate, reseed and apply winterizing fertilizer to the lawn.
Mulch leaves when mowing to promote natural fertilization.
Properly clear, winterize and store your lawn mower.
Rotate seasonal tools and supplies by moving lawn mower to the back of the garage or storage area and snow blower to the front.
Ensure snow blower and other tools are in working order and ready for first snowfall.
Confirm you have enough ice melt, salt, sand, etc for the driveway and sidewalks.
Insulate walls and attics.
Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
Replace all screen doors and windows with storm doors and windows.
Remove air conditioners from windows or cover them with insulated liners to prevent drafts.
Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant to plug any leaks.
Ensure your heating system is in working condition.
If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency.
Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s working correctly.
Test your sump pump in preparation for rain and snow melt.
Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
Keep the flue closed to any fireplace when not in use.
Reverse your ceiling fans so they are moving in a clockwise direction which pulls down warmer air from the ceiling.
Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
Rotate bedding and personal wardrobe.
During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathroom.
Keep slow trickles of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
Ensure you have extra food and emergency supplies (flashlights, blankets, batteries, battery operated radio, etc.) in the event a storm prevents you from leaving the house or knocks out power.