Get ready for winter's chill and reduce energy costs by installing a programmable thermostat. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Bill K.)
Fall is the perfect time to start thinking about preparing your home for winter. As temperatures begin to dip, your home will require maintenance to keep it in working order through the winter and beyond. Here are 10 tips to help you prepare your home for winter:
1. Furnace inspection: Inspect your furnace and clean ducts. Purchase furnace filters and change them monthly. Update to a programmable thermostat. Remove any flammable material from your furnace area.
2. Get the fireplace ready: Check the cap and/or screen the top of the chimney. Sweep the chimney, and inspect the fireplace damper.
3. Check doors and windows: Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points. Replace cracked glass in windows or entire windows. Remove summer screens. If you have storm windows, install them.
4. Inspect the roof, gutters and downspouts: Add extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air causing ice dams. Check flashing to prevent water entry. Replace worn roof shingles or tiles. Upgrade with leaf guards on the gutters and downspouts extensions.
5. Service weather-specific power equipment: Drain gas from lawn mowers. Service snow blowers. Check snow shovels' condition.
6. Check the foundation: Rake away debris and vegetation from your foundation. Seal up entry points to keep out pests. Seal foundation cracks. Inspect sill plates for rot or infestation.
7. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Change detector batteries. Install carbon monoxide detectors near your furnace and water heater. Replace fire extinguishers older than 10 years.
8. Prevent plumbing freezes: Drain all garden hoses. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
9. Prepare landscaping and outdoor surfaces: Trim trees if needed. Plant spring bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot survive frozen ground. Seal driveways, brick patios and decks. Move sensitive potted plants indoors.
10. Prepare an emergency kit: Buy candles and matches for use during a power outage. Set aside drinking water, non-perishable food items, pet food, waterproof blankets, a battery powered radio, and a first-aid kit in a secure location.
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