No doubt about it, it’s time to start thinking about pulling out the woolies! Fall is here, ol’ man winter is just around the corner, and we all know what means. Here are some tips to keep you, your family and your home safe as winter blows in.
How to prepare your home:
• Clean the gutters and downspouts:
Make sure you remove all leaves and twigs in the gutters and downspouts so the water flows freely.
Now is the time to consider purchasing gutter guards. You can find them at your local home improvement center. They are easy to install and will make gutter cleaning easier the following spring.
• Garden hose care:
Once you’ve finished using your garden hose, disconnect it from the outside water valve, drain, and store it the garage or basement.
Make sure you turn off the water to the outside valves. These actions will help prevent frozen pipes over the winter.
• Winter garden preparation:
Trim all your plants back cover the soil with leaves or straw and secure them with tarps so the leaves or soil don’t blow away over the winter.
Cover any outside furniture with tarps or, if possible, bring smaller items inside for the winter.
Secure your air conditioner; make sure the tarp covers the condenser unit and grill to keep debris, snow and water from damaging the unit.
• Winterizing your home:
Check and replace worn out weather stripping around doors.
If your home feels ‘drafty’ in the winter you may need new energy efficient windows installed. If your budget won’t allow for new windows, head over to your local home improvement center and pick-up some window insulation kits. These kits will help seal any leaks around your windows and slide glass doors.
At the end of winter remove the insulation film and save it for next winter. If you had to cut the film to fit any windows make sure you mark which window it came from and next season re-attaching it will be a breeze.
• Time to clean the ceiling fan blades:
After cleaning the blades, look for a switch on the base of the fan. Turn the switch so the blades are rotating clockwise. When the blades turn in this direction the fan sucks the air inside the room up and out towards the walls and down. Set the fan speed to low to avoid a wind chill effect. If you have high ceilings then you will want run the fan speed on medium or even high to make up for the distance in the ceiling height.
• Furnace maintenance:
Contact your furnace service and have them check the furnace. You don’t want to wait until the coldest day of the winter and have your furnace go out. Change the furnace filter every month during the winter.
During the off-seasons, change the filter every three months.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace contact a chimney sweep to clean the flue and check the chimney. Please do not burn wrapping paper in your fireplace. Dangerous toxins can build-up in the flue and could cause a chimney fire.
Electric and gas fireplaces require annual maintenance too. Check your owner’s manual for maintenance details.
Preparation and good maintenance will help avoid breakdowns no matter what ol’ man winter throws your way. You can relax knowing your home is ready to go.