How to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter
When cold weather arrives, you dust off your warm shoes and jackets, and turn the heat up in your home. But have you thought about getting your home ready for the cold season? Here’s a fall and winter home maintenance checklist every homeowner should follow:
- Get Your Heating System Serviced – Before cranking up the heat, hire a technician to inspect your furnace and heat pump. This ensures your heating system works at the recommended efficiency and that carbon monoxide leaks are prevented.
- Reverse Ceiling Fans – Since heat rises, turning your ceiling fans in reverse could help heat up your rooms. This might allow you to turn down your thermostat by one or two degrees and save energy.
- Clean the Gutters – Doing this task regularly prevents water from leaking on your home, causing damage. When temperatures drop below freezing point, having clean gutters also helps prevent ice dams. Ensure that gutters and downspouts aren’t worn or damaged.
- Divert Water Away from Your Home’s Foundation – While you’re checking the downspouts, make sure they divert water at least three to four feet away from the foundation. If they don’t, add extensions to downspouts.
- Prevent Ice Dams – Ice dams on your roof is a sign that your attic is not properly insulated. Your attic must be cool to prevent snow on the roof from melting, which causes ice dams. Make sure your attic has enough ventilation and there aren’t air leaks that heat up your attic.
- Inspect Your Roof – Carefully look for missing, loose or damaged shingles. Better do it now before it starts snowing to avoid leaks and water damage when snow thaws. Check out more roof maintenance tips for the fall.
- Seal Windows and Doors – Moisture and cold air can get inside your walls through gaps around windows, door frames, and where pipes enter your house. Caulk up the gaps that are bigger than the width of a nickel.
- Turn off Exterior Faucets and Sprinklers – The water in outdoor pipes can freeze and cause the pipes to burst as the ice in them expands. To prevent that, disconnect garden hoses and drain all the water in exterior pipes. Alternatively, replace exterior faucets with freeze-proof faucets.
- Drain Your Sprinkler System – Buried irrigation lines can also freeze, leading to burst pipes and damage to sprinkler heads. To best drain the sprinkler system, hire an irrigation technician to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air.
- Mulch Leaves – Instead of raking the leaves on your lawn, mulch them. The resulting compost provides nourishment to your lawn. Also, when stowing your mower for the winter, add stabilizer to the fuel tank to protect the engine if the tank still contains fuel.
- Inspect Your Fireplace – To ensure your fireplace is in good repair throughout the cold season, ensure the damper opens and closes properly. Look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of obstructions. Also check your firebox for damaged or missing bricks or mortar, or hire a chimney sweep to do the job.
During the cold months, it’s also important to be aware of heating safety concerns. Take a look at our home heating safety tips and electric heater safety rules. For professional smoke remediation or fire damage repair, contact your local PuroClean office.