As you put away your beach chairs and wash your bathing suits for the last time this year, you might be thinking about the upcoming fall and winter season and what you need to do in your home to get ready. Believe it or not, winter is only a few months away, and there’s no better time to prepare for it than now! The last thing you want to be doing is be putting storm windows on when it’s 15 degrees out and snowing. I know, I used the word snowing - yuck. Here is a comprehensive list that will walk you through the major things you should be taking care of now, so you can enjoy the upcoming season peacefully:
1. Heating System
Do a thorough review of your heating system to ensure it is working properly. Complete a test run of your system, get maintenance done by a service technician if need be, have your oil or propane tanks topped off, and get your air filter replaced and heating vents cleaned if you haven’t recently. This will keep your heating system working well throughout the winter season!
2. Fireplace and Chimney
If you have a fireplace and chimney in your home, it’s important to inspect them before winter sets in, especially since they can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues. Check your flue damper operation, opening and closing it and confirming it can be locked in the open or closed position. Also be sure to check the chimney draft, creating a small fire with old newspapers to confirm the smoke rises up. Then, make an appointment to get your chimney professionally cleaned if hasn’t been in a few years. That is not a job that is fun to do yourself!
3. Doors and Windows
You can easily reduce your heating bill by eliminating the infiltration of cold air from air leaks around doors and windows. On a day when it’s windy outside, close your windows and feel for any air leaks. Air leaks are usually found where the window is hinged, slides or meets another unit. You can use either a plastic seal or rope caulk to close up the leaks! As for your doors, check for weather-stripping on the sides and bottoms of the doors. If you spot a leak, simply get the weather-stripping replaced.
Have your roof checked for any missing or damaged shingles, and have them replaced if necessary. Also be sure to check the flashing around chimneys and other roof projections. Aside from the roof, have your gutters and downspouts cleaned. Wet leaves from the fall will add significant weight to your gutters when frozen and increase the risk of damage to your home.
Last but not least, prepare your yard and outdoor accessories for winter. Rake your leaves or have your landscaper take care of them, as well as your trees and shrubs. There is still time to enjoy your patio furniture though; so don’t go putting anything away yet. In fact, this is a great time of year to toss on a sweatshirt and sit outside.
There are definitely a lot of things that need to be done to prepare your home for winter. If you start now, you won’t have to worry about it during the holiday season! You can focus on what matters most in your life, and know your home is all ready to go. And, as always, if you are in the market for a new home or know someone who is, I am here to help!