Now is the time to prep your home - both indoor and outdoor - for the long winter months.
Outdoor Maintenance Tips
- Clear debris out of you window wells, gutters, downspouts, and storm drains. This will allow the water to properly drain, minimizing standing water and stalling the freeze and thaw expansion process that often occurs during colder months.
- Make sure the weather stripping on your windows and doors fit and is in good condition.
- Clean your windows. Sparkling clean windows let in lots of sunlight that will help chase away winter's doldrums.
- Look for broken or cracked glass and damaged screens or storm windows. Check for loose putty around glass panes.
- Remove garden hoses from spouts, drain and store for the winter.
- Check painted surfaces for water damage or mildew.
- Insulate outdoor faucets, pipes in unheated garages, and pipes in crawl spaces with materials such as rags or newspapers.
- Keep rodents out. In the winter months, all kinds of critters will be looking for a cozy spot. They don't need a lot of space to get into or under your home. Make sure all exterior vents are screened and that there are no gaps underneath garage doors.
- Fall is also the time to remove window screens and store in a safe place such as your basement or garage. Install storm windows to insure proper heating efficiency.
Indoor Maintenance Tips
- Get your heating system checked by a professional.
- Replace your furnace filter.
- Clean out any dust that has accumulated in vents to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and cut down on winter colds.
- Make sure you have proper insulation in both your attic and basement. While checking your insulation, if you see any dark, dirty spots, it may indicate you have air leaks coming into your home.
- Test all smoke alarms and clean dust from the covers. Replace batteries as necessary.
- Test all ground-fault circuit interrupters, especially after electrical storms.
- Check your home around windows and doors for air leaks. An easy way to check for leaks is to move a lighter around the window or door frame and see if the flame moves with a breeze. If you find a leak, you can caulk it or you may have to replace the wood frame. Repairing these leaks can save you money on your energy bill during the cold months.
- Don't ignore your hose bibs and learn the location of your pipes as well as how to shut off the water. If your pipes end up freezing, you'll have a better chance of preventing a burst if you can quickly shut water off.
- Clean and reverse ceiling fans. Reset fans for the winter routine by giving fan blades a thorough dusting, and then switch them to a clockwise spin in order to push warm air downward from the ceiling.
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