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Get Your Home Ready for Winter

BergeninFallFor me the Fall really started last night into this morning. That is when my house felt a bit cool without air conditioning and broke out the hooded sweatshirt for my nightly walk with Maggie our dog.  This morning I woke up and grabbed some socks to walk around the house.  For me these are the first real signs that Fall’s grip is upon us.  For our daily life this will mean more clothing, shorter days, and more color on the trees.  For our homes it means its time for some yearly maintenance and checks.

Take out and store Window Air Conditioners

For someone who loves the bedroom cold this step usually takes longer than it should but it’s time!  With the weather colder you are inviting cold air through the tiny gaps and hurting your home’s efficiency.  Take the time now before it gets too cold and store them properly.  If you can’t get them out or you have wall mounted air conditioners head to the hardware store and get some insulation.  You can get plastic sheets that you apply to the inside to seal up any air seepage as well as install a cap on the outside that does a similar job.  You want to minimize any inefficiencies and keep all of that precious heat inside.

Check and Maintain your Heating System

When do you think the best time to find out your heating system doesn’t work is?  Before you really need to use it!  Now is the time to call your plumber, HVAC pro, or the company you have a service contract and get a checkup.  Heating systems need maintenance to work properly so it can be critical to have a professional look at your system to avoid a problem down the road.  As someone who had his boiler blow during a cold stretch in December I can sympathise with anyone who has had heating issues.  There are good companies like your utility provider that offer service contracts to avoid issues so you may want to look into those as well.

Clean Your Gutters

Van Saun Park after a February Snow StormDo you remember who much snow we got last year?  The answer is a LOT and snow accumulation can lead to many problems in a home.  One of the ways to avoid issues is to clean your gutters in the Fall.  By cleaning out the gutters you allow better water flow and help to avoid heavy freezing and snow accumulation.  A big issue we saw last year was ice damming which can also be somewhat prevented by clean gutters.  Cleaning gutters can be a dangerous job if you are not careful or don’t have the right equipment.  If you are uneasy about the job, hire a professional.  they know what they are doing and will ensure they are clear of debris before the cold sets in.

Clean out Your Sprinkler Lines

In Ground sprinklers are a great way of keeping your lawn and garden beautiful during the summer and are relatively maintenance free.  During the fall, after you stop needing to water you need to have your Sprinkler Company come out and clear out the lines.  They basically attach air hoses to your irrigation system and send compressed air into your system.  What this does is eliminates any water in the lines.  Water in the lines during the winter can lead to freezing and damage to the system.  It is an essential step to owning a system.

Get Your Chimney Swept

According to about 2,500 people die a year in the US due to house fires.  That is a scary number but you can do your part to avoid issues.  Fireplaces are great for warmth, ambience, and the general feel of a home but you need to understand how they work.  It is recommended that you have a professional chimney sweep check your chimney every year or two depending on how much you use it.  When you burn wood you accumulate creosote and other materials on the chimney walls.  These materials can actually ignite and cause a fire in your chimney.  So it is very important to keep a clean chimney and follow basic fireplace best practices.

Do an Efficiency Check of Your Home

What is an efficiency check?  Simply put it is checking your home for leaks and other issues.  Do you have old windows?  Maybe some window molding that is cracking?  A door that has a gap on the sides or bottom?  these are all means for air to penetrate your home and hurt your energy efficiency and raise your utility bills.  You should check windows, doors, siding, the roof, and anywhere on your home that air could enter or escape.  There are companies that can come out and give you a professional report and recommendations if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

These tips are hopefully a good guide to prepare your home for the cold this Fall.  When in doubt consult a professional to be sure your home is ready for the cold and will continue to do so for years to come.

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