Your home is like your cozy cave for hibernating in winter. Performing maintenance now prevents breakdowns when the weather outside is frightful.
Take advantage of the cooler temperatures of fall to perform these tasks. Come January, you’ll thank yourself for your labor.
1. Clean Your Gutters
You need to clean out your gutters so clogs don’t result in damage. Now is also the perfect time to inspect your roof for leaks while you have the ladder out.
Look for cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing, which can indicate leaky areas. Take note of any missing tiles or shingles and replace them. You can fix these fairly easily yourself, but if you’re in a two-storey home instead of an apartment, consider hiring a professional. Safety first!
2. Prepare Your Garage
An uninsulated garage is a freezing one on winter days. Even if you close the exterior door, you make your heater work harder when you open the interior one. Insulating the door improves energy efficiency and helps ward off costly electric bills.
Insulate your garage walls, too. Before adding insulation, inspect for any cracks and seal them thoroughly.
3. Add Insulation
Your garage isn’t the only energy vampire in your home. Your attic may bleed heat out through your roof. If you find dry, crumbling insulation and you own an older home, you may have asbestos. Send a sample for testing and hire professionals to remove it.
Your gable vent can wear out over time, so inspect it and replace it if necessary. Attic fans can keep your house cooler in the summer, but drain heating oil in December. Either purchase a seal at a hardware store, or block the device with thick insulation and tape.
4. Inspect Your Pipes
Are you traveling for the holidays? Your pipes can freeze and crack in your absence, causing no end of headaches. Before you leave, drain pipes by turning on all faucets and shutting the water off at the valve. Make sure to include the hose bib outside and seal it for the season.
If you’re not flying south for the winter, insulate your pipes with sleeves. Leave no gaps for cold air to enter. Keep indoor temperatures set above 60 to prevent freezing, and consider leaving a tap dripping on frigid nights. You can conserve the collected water in a bucket and use it for cleaning.
5. Check Your HVAC and Swap out Filters
If you forgot to change your filters over the summer months, now is the time to do it. Do so monthly while your HVAC system works, more often if your home contains heavy smokers or pets.
Inspect the moving parts of your HVAC system for any squeaks or groans when in use. If your home uses gas, check for leaks and cracks. Look for clogs in the condensate drain and clear them.
If you use window or portable air conditioners during the summer, take them out and vacuum the coils before you store them. This DIY maintenance step improves their cooling efficiency when warm weather returns.
6. Upgrade Your Windows
Inspect your windows for leaks and caulk up any cracks. If you have older, single-pane models, consider replacing them with upgraded double-paned ones. You’ll soon earn back the money you spend by saving on heating bills.
7. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Fireplaces increase the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, as can using outdated gas appliances. Install carbon monoxide detectors in all rooms where risks exist. The early signs of poisoning resemble those of the flu, which is common this time of year.
Winterizing Your Home Means Performing Maintenance in the Fall
Proper winterizing now can save you money on repairs. Get started on this checklist, so you’re ready to hunker down by the time the first snow hits.
AUTHOR: KACEY BRADLEY
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!