The last few months of the year are definitely the most exciting, in my book. They’re filled with all the best holidays, lots of memories being made and plenty of parties to attend. That being said, the cold winter months are also some of the harshest, due to all the wear and tear that they can inflict on your home. For most of the months out of the year our home can function wonderfully with just a little upkeep here and there, but before the snow, freezing temperatures and windy nights hit, here are a few things that you might want to check up on to make sure your house is in tip-top shape.
Get your Fireplace Ready:
If you have a fireplace, gas or wood burning, you should make it a point to give it a good once-over before every burning season. While gas burning fireplaces only mostly require you to check for the flames consistency in color and making sure there are no obstructions in the flue, wood burning fireplaces call for a bit more upkeep. You can attempt to tackle the project yourself, or contact a local chimney sweep to do the job for you.
Washing & Sealing your Windows:
With all the dust, dirt and hard water from sprinklers that gather on your windows throughout the year, by Fall, it’s time for a good window washing. Not only does it preserve the actual window itself, from becoming cloudy or dingy permanently over time, but it also can give your house an unexpected face lift! You’ll be amazed at how much brighter and clearer your view to outside is.
Sealing or blocking any gaps in your window frame surrounds is also key to making sure your home stays nice and warm during the winter. You can use rubberized seals, cellular shades or even just layer curtains.
Reverse your Ceiling Fan(s):
Reversing your ceiling fan so it turns in a clockwise direction while the heat runs, can produce an updraft which pushes rising heat downward, to more efficiently and quickly warm your room.
Check your Furnace and Change the Filter Monthly:
New furnaces can go about 3-5 years without any professional maintenance, but keeping the filter changed regularly helps it to run it’s best during the cold months, when your furnace gets used the most. If you live around new construction or in a dustier type surrounding, then you’ll want to check your filter more often for excessive debris.
If you have an older furnace it may need a professional check-up. Usually for under $100 you can have someone come out and inspect your furnace and also look for any carbon monoxide leaks; to insure that it’s achieving it’s manufacturer-rated efficiency.
Check Smoke Alarms & Install Carbon Monoxide detectors:
This is always important, but especially around the holidays when we use a lot more electricity, heat, gas and fire. Test your smoke alarms to make sure they work and stock up on extra batteries. Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home, and more frequently if your home is larger. Resist placing them too close to water heaters or gas burning fireplaces because they are sensitive and may detect small (non-hurtful) amounts of carbon monoxide, sending the alarm off prematurely.
Protect your Plumbing from Freezing:
Drain all your garden hoses and sprinkler pipes. Also be sure to know where your main water shut-off is, in the event of an emergency. You can also take extra precautions by wrapping pipes that may be exposed to extreme cold (or that are next to exterior walls), in foam insulated pipe blankets. They can be purchased at the hardware store and cut down to the length you need for your individual needs.
Purchase a Snow Shovel & Salt:
Be prepared BEFORE the big storm hits. Make a note to pick up a good quality snow shovel and a bag of ice melt for your driveway and porch. A huge snowstorm can be a pain to deal with, but if you’re equipped with the right tools then it will just make the job that much easier.
Just like you, I want to dive head first into the holiday festivities, but allotting some time on a Saturday to quickly check a few of these winterizing tasks off your list, may save you a lot of headache later on.