Is your home ready for winter’s frosty temperatures and severe weather?
We all know about “spring cleaning”, but it is just as important to clean and prepare your home in the fall-before winter is here. This checklist, from Better Homes and Gardens, covers all the necessary maintenance for your home and will help homeowners prepare and protect their home this winter.
Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts to protect exterior surfaces and keep water out of the basement
Seal any gaps or cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk to reduce drafts and to keep the heat in
Inspect roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents-putting this off can be detrimental and disastrous (it’s much harder to find and fix the leak when its under snow and ice)
Repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps-look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, loose railings on steps, disintegration of asphalt, or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths-these may not seem dangerous now but when it gets cold and icy out they can be hazardous
Drain and winterize all outdoor faucets and irrigation systems-it’s easier than dealing with a busted pipe later!
Clean or replace dirty/old furnace filters-filters that are clogged can make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature and can increase your utility bills during the winter months
Have a professional inspect your HVAC system
Check fireplaces for build-up; hire a professional chimney sweep (better)-accumulations in a flue or chimney can result in a devastating chimney and/or house fire
Inspect any gas-fired room heaters-an improperly maintained gas heater can spew poisons into the air of your home, which can be very dangerous
Inspect wood stoves before firing up-cracks in wood-stove-stovepipes can release toxic fumes into your home, so check for corrosion, holes, or loose joints often
Test smoke and CO monitors and replace the batteries
Inspect (or install) fire extinguishers-there should be at least one fire extinguisher in your home
Review fire escape plans
Rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards
Be sure to do regular cleaning and maintenance along with the specific chores on this list to ensure that your home and your family are prepared and protected this winter. For more great tips from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, click here!
As you go about your annual spring cleaning rituals, take a few additional steps to save money on energy bills, improve your home’s appearance and ward off big-ticket repairs later.
Here are 10 tips for you to help prepare your home for warmer months and keep it in top shape..
Inspect the AC: For about $75 to $200, a technician will tune up your cooling system and make sure you don’t spend the first hot weekend of the year with an out-of-commission air conditioner. Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder, increasing energy costs and possibly damaging your equipment. Check them monthly and replace them as needed!
Clean Out The Gutters: Gutter cleaning generally costs $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square-foot home.
Repair Your Roof: An easy way to inspect the roof to find damage is to use a pair of binoculars. If need be, hire a handyman or a roofer to repair any missing shingles or other damages. Make sure to clean out roof drains to avoid damaging the roof and causing leaks.
Pressure Wash Your Home: Clean your home’s exterior to remove accumulated dirt, mold and stains from the siding, deck, sidewalks, driveway, garage floor, fences, and lawn furniture. You can rent a pressure washer or hire someone to help.
Wash The Windows
Prepare To Mow: A dull lawn mower blade doesn’t slice, but instead tears grass leaving it vulnerable to disease, sun damage, and insects. A blade typically needs sharpening once or twice a year, or more often depending on how big your yard is.
Lose The Lint: Make sure to clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap before every use. A clogged vent can reduce your dryer’s efficiency and create a fire hazard.
Put The Temperature on Autopilot: For an initial investment of $50 to $150 dollars for a programmable thermostat, you can save about $180 annually on cooling and heating bills. Set the hold feature for a constant, efficient temperature when you’re away for the weekend or on vacation.
Caulk The Cracks: If the gap around a door or a window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Add weatherstripping around doors, making sure that you cant see any daylight from the inside of your home.
Repair Sidewalks and Driveways: Fix any breakdown in concrete or asphalt before it worsens. You can patch or fill surface cracks, chips or flaking concrete yourself using cement repair products. For deeper cracks, call a professional. To increase the longevity of your driveway, have asphalt resealed every two to five years, depending on climate and wear patterns. Have concrete resealed every one to three years.