The Iceman Cometh…
Now that Autumn has graced us with her presence, you can be sure that the frost, ice, snow, and sub-zero temperatures can’t be far behind. Time to put away your shorts, flip-flops, halter tops, T-shirts and air conditioners, and drag out the thermal underwear, boots, parkas and ice scrapers and prepare ourselves to survive another Winter.
By the same token, your home needs some preparation to be ready for winter and provide you with a warm and comfortable retreat away from the harshness of the elements. Here’s a checklist of things you should do to get your home in shape to enjoy winter.
- The most important thing is to ensure that your heating system is in peak operating condition. You can test it yourself to make sure it puts out heat when the thermostat is turned up, but we recommend you have it checked by a qualified heating technician. Most utility companies have service plans you can sign up for that provide periodic checks of your furnace for a nominal fee.
- Make sure all heating vents, baseboards and radiators are working properly and not blocked so that warm air can circulate freely.
- If not already in place, it’s a good idea to install carbon monoxide (CO2) detectors in any areas where you might suspect the presence of this silent but deadly gas. Most home improvement stores sell these detectors, and you can even get them with smoke detectors combined into one unit.
- Remove any window air conditioning units and check the closed windows for drafts; seal any leaks that you find. If the A/C unit can’t be removed, at least protect it with a good quality air conditioner cover.
- If you have a fireplace, it’s a good idea to have it professionally serviced to ensure the chimney isn’t obstructed, that it’s clean and there are no creosote build-ups, and there are no cracks in the masonry that might cause a fire to spread into the walls behind the chimney.
- Check any exposed water pipes in uninsulated areas like crawlspaces to ensure they are properly insulated. Cracked pipes in the winter are no fun!
- Check the weather stripping on all doors and windows to make sure no drafts enter your home. Replace any that is cracked, brittle or missing.
- Make sure the roof is in good condition, and make any needed repairs to shingles or flashing.
- Clean out all gutters and rain spouts. Clogged rain gutters can lead to ice damming, which could cause leaks inside your home.
- Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets and drain the water from them. Disconnect any garden hoses, drain the water and store them for the winter.
- Either cover all patio furniture or store it in a shed, if available.
- Whatever your method of snow removal, make sure it’s ready for winter: inspect shovels for cracked blades and handles, replace if necessary; have gas on hand for your snow blower and inspect it to ensure there are no blockages which could damage the machine or cause injury. Or, have your snow removal company’s phone number handy!
These are just a few tips to help you get your home ready for cold weather. Taking action now could be the difference between a nice, comfy winter and a long, miserable one.