Fall is here and Winter is knocking on the door. While the days get colder and shorter, we get ourselves ready for winter. Your home also needs to get ready. Here are some handy tips on what to do to be ready for Old Man Winter.
Check foundation for cracks and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house, and around the windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping.
Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Before storing, clean and repair screens, spray with a protective coating and place in a dry area of the basement or garage.
Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings.
Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles.
After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
Examine your pool cover for damage and replace if necessary.
Weather-strip your garage door. Make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals.
Inspect your driveway for cracks. Clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer.
Apply weather stripping and caulk to these areas will help cut down on drafts.
Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer and have fewer problems if properly serviced.
Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and keep extra household batteries on hand.
Check basement windows for drafts, loose frames or cracked panes.
Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover in order to prevent rusting of vital parts.
Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.
YARD AND GARDEN
Organize your garage. Clean and store summer garden tools.
Clear leaves from lawn, reseed patchy areas, and plant spring flowering bulbs. If deer are a problem, start deer-proofing by covering plants with netting and chicken wire.
Prepare your yard equipment for storage. This includes draining fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws.
Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls. Organize your snow clearing gear.
Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves in cold weather. Any water left in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand breaking the pipes.
Inspect and fill bird feeders. Keep in mind that once you start feeding birds you should continue on a regular basis throughout the winter months.
Fertilize the lawn with a high phosphorous mix to ensure healthy grass in the spring.
PORCH AND DECK
Check the supports, stairs, and railings on porches and decks. Make sure the handrails can support someone slipping on snow or ice.
Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area.
Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.