Winter is coming – time to make sure your home is ready. Here are some of our favorite tips on what you should plan to do in the next month or so. If you are handy, do them yourself and save some money. If not, hire someone, and you will still save money from costly repairs if you don’t do this routine maintenance.
Inside Your Home
- Heating System: Have your furnace and heating serviced annually so you avoid any problems during really cold weather. Change furnace filters and remove dust & dirt from wall & baseboard heaters and cold-air returns. Test your generator and, if it is a portable one, make sure you have gas on hand in case the power goes out. Tip: Never run a generator inside your home or garage!
- Detectors: Check the operation and the batteries for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the units and/or the batteries as needed. You should have both a smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home and outside the bedroom areas.
- Plumbing: Refresh yourself on where your pipes are and how to turn off the water in case there is a leak. Make sure exposed pipes are wrapped with heating tape – especially in unfinished basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Check & repair any faucets or pipes that have cracks or small leaks. Tip: It is recommended to keep your house warm, at least in the low 60’s, to protect your pipes.
- Pest Control: As the weather cools, pests look for warm places – so check your crawlspaces and attics for any unwanted guests. Make sure to repair or replace screens behind vents and look for any holes that might need to be repaired or filled to prevent access to your home. Tip: Don’t store large bags of pet food in the garage without putting it in a storage container and don’t hang bird feeders next to your home as both of these attract pests to come into your home.
Outside Your Home
- Chimney: You should have your chimney checked and cleaned regularly, especially if you burn wood regularly in your fireplace/wood stove.
- Gutters: Check your gutters and clean out any leaves or other debris and make sure the downspouts are clear. If needed, repair any damaged or loose gutters and seal any leaks. Tip: If you see water dripping from a seam or pooling by a downspout, there is a good chance you have a blockage. Also, if needed, add downspout extenders to keep water away from your home.
- Plumbing: Time to have your sprinkler/irrigation system blown out – you can do this with an air compressor if you have one. At the same time, make sure outside faucets are shut-off, disconnected from hoses, and cover with freeze proof faucet covers.
- Drainage: Make sure French drains are cleared of weeds/grass/debris and storm drains remain clear of fall debris.
- Lighting: Make sure your walkways are well lit and if they are controlled by timers, adjust them to allow for the darker evenings.
- Concrete: Inspect your patio, walkway and drive-way concrete and fill any cracks and then apply sealer so that water cannot get in and freeze over the winter and make small cracks larger.