It’s that time of year again! Wrapping up in warm clothes to put out the Halloween decorations and beautifully carved pumpkins with thoughts not too far from Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas lights too be strung. And although this is a time for seasonal change and anticipation of festivities to come, it is also a time for preparing your home for the cold and wet of winter.
Many of you may have already felt the first pangs of cold early in the morning when your feet first touch the floor or coming in from outside and you have that momentary shiver and burr.
For a second your thoughts go to turning the heating on, lighting the furnace, dragging out the space heater or just bringing in wood and lighting a fire.
There’s a comforting feeling about the warmth from heating when it’s first turned on after its summer hibernation. You start to think about socks and warmer PJ’s, hot chocolate while watching a great movie and closing curtains too keep out the cold.
But consider for a moment, in your haste to snuggle up and celebrate the coming season, has your mind wandered to the source of all this anticipated heat?
Have you considered that whatever the source, if it’s not adequately maintained and regularly checked your comforts of home may not be comfortable at all?
Is your home ready to not just take the heat but not lose it all through inadequately sealed windows and doors?
Are those gutters, precariously perched along the edge of your roof, clear and securely attached so that an overnight freeze doesn’t cause them to come crashing down?
Did any of those birds that were flying around all summer long, busy making homes of their own, happen to make one in your chimney?
If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions then you might want to take a look at a few suggestions about winterizing your home and protecting yourself against a winter of repairs and problems. You might be surprised at how simple some of these items are and how effective they can be.
- Put weather stripping or door sweeps on exterior doors.
- Chalk around windows.
- Use outlet gaskets on electrical outlets that share an exterior wall.
Hint: On an extremely windy day, walk around the interior of your home with a lit incense burner and hold it around doors, windows, electrical outlets, recessed lighting and any other place that air can get in. This will give you an indication of where to seal.
Sealing will also prevent insects from entering. Replace any cracked or broken glass panes.
- Seal any exposed entry points around pipes.
- Reverse ceiling fans. For winter, the blades should be turning clockwise.
- If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a while, call a chimney sweep to clean out soot and creosote.
- Inspect the fireplace damper to ensure proper opening and closing. Keep damper closed when fireplace is not in use.
- Use a protective cap or screen on the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
- Store firewood in a dry place, away from the exterior walls of the house.
- Test and /or install smoke detectors. Use a small amount of actual smoke and not just the test button.
- Replace detector batteries.
- Replace detectors that are older than 10 years.
- Install or test carbon monoxide detectors.
- Drain gas from lawnmowers and trimmers.
- Trim branches of trees that hang too close to electrical wires or the house.
- Drain garden hoses.
- Insulate exterior plumbing pipes.
- Replace worn hot tub covers.
- Bring all electronic entertainment equipment indoors.
- Rake all debris and vegetation away from the foundation of the house.
- Remove all leaves and vegetation from gutters.
- Check all gutter fasteners are secure.
- Flush all downspouts with water to clear.
- Add downspout extensions if drainage is too close to the house.
- Check flashing to prevent water from entering the home.
- Replace broken or lose roof shingles or tiles.
- Have the furnace inspected and the ducts cleaned by a HVAC professional.
- Change furnace filters monthly.
- Bleed hot-water radiators by opening values until water comes out, then close them.
- Check that attic insulation is at a minimum of 12 inches.
- Locate water main in case of emergency and it needs to be shut off.
Now you can snuggle up and enjoy the winter festivities without having to overpay your utility bills had over the money for costly repairs.