It is that time of year when the days are shorter. Prepare your home now for the winter months. Take a look at Wanda’s checklist and make sure you’ve got everything ready for winter!
Get Your Furnace Checked
A regular furnace checkup will prolong its life, prevent carbon monoxide leaks, and ensure everything is in working order. This tune-up will also ensure you’re getting maximum efficiency from your unit and not wasting your money. If you have a hot air heating system make sure you replace your filters.
Put Away the Gardening Supplies
Remember to disconnect and bring in all of your garden hoses. If water freezes inside of them, it can cause the hose to split. A connected hose can also make your outdoor faucet more susceptible to frozen pipes.
Ceramic planters that still contain plant life should be brought inside to warmer temperatures. If the plant was seasonal, empty the pots of all soil and store them out of the cold. This is also a good time to oil and clean metal tools before you store them in the shed. This will ensure they’re ready once spring rolls around again!
Protect Your Plants
Perennial outdoor plants can really benefit from some added protection in colder areas. The type of protection needed depends on the plant.
Clean the Gutters and Air Conditioning
Right after most of the leaves have fallen is the perfect time to clean out your gutters. Without this maintenance, you can have major problems over the course of the winter. Water will not be properly directed away from the house and can create serious foundation issues in your home.
You also want to be sure to cover your air conditioning unit to keep leaves and snow from getting in.
Tune Up the Snow Blower
There’s no worse time to figure out that your snow blower isn’t working than right after the first big snowstorm. Take your snow blower in for a tune-up to make sure it runs when you need it most.
Get the Chimney Cleaned
If you have a chimney and enjoy using it during the winter months, then scheduling an inspection is a must. When you burn wood in your fireplace, there’s a chance you’re creating a buildup which could ignite when you light a fire and cause a dangerous chimney fire. These fires burn at super-hot temperatures and can weaken the structure of the chimney, leading to damage. With brick chimneys, this can cause the brick to break down and give the fire access to the wood structure of your home.
Invest in a Carbon Monoxide Detector and Check Smoke Detectors
As we seek to heat our homes in the winter, the sources of carbon monoxide (CO) begin to increase. These include any appliances that work by burning fuel. If you have a fuel-burning (i.e., not electric) clothes dryer, furnace, water heater, fireplace, stove or generator, you have a source of carbon monoxide. As higher concentrations of carbon monoxide in the air can be deadly, invest in a CO detector. This will monitor the levels and alert you with a noise and light when they get too high. Carefully read the instructions on the monitor to ensure the device will cover the entire span of your home. You may need to purchase more than one. Also, check the batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure all are functioning.
Check Your Insulation
There are numerous areas where cold weather can make its way into your house. Before the weather starts to get too chilly, take a look around your home to make sure certain areas are still in prime condition.
First, check the seals around your windows. If you find the seals to be lacking, use weather stripping or caulk to seal around the frame. If you’re not satisfied with the amount of insulation this provides, you can remove the trim and put in an expanding foam.
You can also seal your doors by putting self-stick foam around the doorframes. Another easy way to weatherproof doors is to simply stick a door sweep at the bottom of the frame between the door and the floor.
One place you might not think about air escaping is through your outlets. Any hardware store will sell easy-to-install foam outlet covers (known as gaskets) that will prevent the cold air, which can get in around your electrical box, from coming into the home.
Keep It Humid
By closing everything up and keeping the heat in, you’ll have taken your house into a state of hibernation. It’s important to remember that everything will dry out due to a lack of humidity in the air.
This can cause a number of problems, including ones that affect your health. Warm air tends to dry out the sinuses. As gross as it sounds, that mucus in your nasal passages actually helps trap viruses and other nasty stuff before it can get into your system.
If you want to stop your house from becoming too dry, consider using a humidifier to keep your sinuses happy and the rest of you more comfortable.
Test your Sump Pump
Your sump pump will help you keep your basement dry during the wet season, so make sure it's working properly. Slowly pour a few gallons of water into the pit to make sure the pump turns on.
Consider a Generator
If you live in an area that is prone to power outages, perhaps it's time to consider a generator. A generator will help you keep some lights on, along with the heat, during prolonged winter power outages. And both portable and standby generators are available, depending on your needs.
Stock Up on Salt and Sand
Purchase some salt, ice melt or sand before the first snowfall. And this will give you some extra traction when it's time to shovel the sidewalk and driveway.
When purchasing items to help you prepare your home for winter, be sure to shop local at these Franklin County businesses:
- Ashfield Hardware in Ashfield
- Aubuchon Hardware in Shelburne Falls, Greenfield, and Turners Falls
- Tractor Supply Co. in Greenfield
- Avery's General Store in Charlemont
- Greenfield Farmer's Coop Exchange in Greenfield
- Shelburne Farm & Garden in Shelburne Falls
Plus, click here for a list of local service providers and area professionals to help you get the job done right!
For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.