As we head towards the winter season, we want to make sure our home is ready. Fall is a great time to take care of some annual maintenance. Since we can have a fairly cold winter season, it’s a good idea get out there while the weather is still bearable. We even like to put our Christmas lights up early before it gets too frigid.
Windows and Doors
1. Visual check. Look for cracks, gabs, loose notches, rotting wood and rusting tracks and make repairs or replacements.
2. Seal the deal. Check the areas around all windows and doors. Replace or add sealing as needed to trap heat inside the house and help lower your heating bills.
Gutters & Downspouts
3. Clean the gutters. Leaves and debris can cause water to get backed up in your gutters and downspouts, which can lead to problems. Wood rot and pest infestations can result from messy gutters.
4. Check for trapped water. Check for water that may be getting trapped behind your gutters and downspouts.
5. Check for pooling water. Pooling water at and around the spouts of your gutters can cause foundation problems.
6. Roofing. Have your roof inspected by a professional for leaks and any needed replacements.
7. Perimeter check. Check siding, foundation, gates and so on for areas that might need to be repaired before winter.
8. Guard against nuisances. Mice, squirrels, and the like will be looking for a place to escape the cold weather. Check for any holes and block any potential entrances to your home.
9. Path check. Check for uneven gaps or cracks on walkways, sidewalk and driveways that could lead to injury when walking on ice and snow.
10. Inspect your deck. Replace missing or rusted bolts, rotted boards and rails. Cold, wet weather can make the damage worse and cause injury if a board or rail falls apart.
11. Check outdoor lighting. Darkness falls early in winter - poor lighting can cause injury when walking in winter conditions. Put fresh bulbs in all exterior lights and add extra lighting along pathways if needed.
12. Tree maintenance. Trim any tree limbs that are getting too close to the house or power lines. If any large branches snap in the cold, wet weather, you don’t want it falling on your house or power lines.
13. Sprinkler lines. Drain and turn off your sprinkler system if you’re not going to use it during winter. Water left in the system may freeze.
14. Get rid of leaves. If you want to give your lawn a better chance of rejuvenating come spring, rake up all leaves and debris.
15. Stow away hoses. Drain and store hoses in garage or shed. Hoses left out for winter will crack and be useless next season.
16. Faucets. Make sure all faucets are tightly secured in the off position. Check for leaks.
17. Protect patio furniture. Patio furniture can get weathered rapidly during winter months. Bring patio furniture in garage or shed or order patio furniture covers and tie down securely.
18. Chimney inspection. Before you light up that first fire of the season, contact a professional to clean and check your chimney. The closer winter gets, the busier these companies are, so do your chimney inspection in September.
19. Furnace/HVAC system. No one wants their heat to go out in the middle of winter. Have a professional service come out for inspection and maintenance, including changing all your filters so that your heating system can run efficiently.
20. Clean your dryer. Perform a thorough cleaning of the vents in your dryer. Winter weather means causes more static electricity. If there’s a bunch of lint built up, your dryer could start a fire in your home. There are professionals who will clean out your dryer vents.
21. Hood vents. Have a professional check your kitchen vents.
22. Duct check. Have all ducts cleaned and checked. Maintained ducts reduce dust and can improve your energy efficiency.
23. Pipes. Ensure all your pipes are well insulated to help prevent freezing.
24. Check water turnoff. Know where the main water turnoff is and check for rusting. You’ll need to know how to turn off your water in case the pipes do freeze.
25. Have an energy audit done. Most electric companies now perform audits of how well your home is using energy. Check with your electric company and ask for an audit twice a year.
26. Freshen batteries. Replace all the batteries in every detector in your home and test if they are all functioning.
27. Check insulation. If your home is getting up there in age or your remember feeling drafts in the house last year, you may want to have the insulation checked and add more if needed.
28. Emergency Kit. If you have an emergency or disaster kit, check that everything is up-to-date. If you don’t have one, a quick search online and you can find prepared kits or checklists on how to put one together.
29. Check winter supplies. If you live in a snowy climate, make sure you have all the shovels, scrapers, and everything else you need to get through the winter. Having an emergency kit in the trunk is also a great idea if anyone gets stuck in the snow or slides into a ditch.
30. Stock up on salt or ice-melt. If you live in a place that gets a lot of snow and ice, piece up large bags of sea salt or ice-melt. Check the labels for pet, plant, and environmentally friendly products.