Now it’s not around the corner, but we’ve had snow storms as early as Halloween, so it’s certainly not too early to be taking steps (while the weather is still OK) to assure that your home is ready for winter. You certainly don’t want to be dealing with a roof leak or dead furnace in January! Here’s a checklist to help you work through your fall maintenance list:
Inspect them; clean them – including downspouts.
WINDOWS AND DOORS
Inspect them. If you see gaps or cracks…get out the caulk; buy new weather stripping. The US Department of Energy says that gaps in weather stripping and caulk can account for 10% of your heating bill so take care of those gaps now, and keep the warm air in and the winter winds out.
Every fall you should be checking your roof for problems. You’re looking for curled, damaged, or missing shingles, damaged flashing around vents and your chimney, and any other area that could allow water in. And check out our earlier article on preventing ice dams. (And if you’re not confident on ladders or the roof, hire a professional to do your inspection and repairs!)
STEPS AND WALKWAYS
Inspect and repair walks and steps. The last thing you want to do be doing is chipping away ice on front walks with deep depressions that collected water or trying to repair steps into your house that are putting your family and visitors at risk when they enter.
It’s a very wise idea to have a professional check out your furnace while temperatures are still moderate. It’s also time to change (or clean) those furnace filters.
Just remember: clean chimneys don’t catch fire. And the last thing you want is a chimney fire. Hire an insured, reliable chimney sweep to clean yours. (More information on what causes chimney fires and how to prevent them.)
Gas heaters are responsible for fires and CO poisonings every winter, so if you do use them, it’s a good idea to have them inspected and have routine maintenance performed before winter arrives.
Before the first hard frost, make sure you drain your outside faucets and have a professional blow out the lines of your irrigation system.
With furnaces working throughout the winter, you have even more reason to make sure your fire detectors and CO detectors are working properly. And remember, CO detectors don’t last forever; they have expiration dates. Check yours and replace them as necessary. (Learn more)
It’s also a good idea to check your fire extinguisher while you’re at it!
So many of us love winter and would never move from New England. Make sure you have a chance to really enjoy it having done home maintenance before the snow flies!