Your Winter Home Checklist
We all know that winter is always here or it's coming, and so we should all be preparing our homes for the cold weather while the warm sun still shines. To save yourself time, consider following this advice on what you should do around the house to make sure you are ready for winter.
Have your furnace professionally serviced. That includes cleaning and checking the supply lines, furnace ducts, filters, and thermostats. If you have a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned to remove any creosote buildup. Also, have your fireplace damper checked to be sure it is opening and closing properly. Purchase or chop a supply of firewood and store it outside, away from your home's foundation.?
Check the glass in your windows and doors. If any of it is cracked or broken, replace it before the cold weather gets here. Don't forget your basement windows as well. Examine the caulking around your doors and windows. Remove any cracked or peeling caulking and install fresh new caulking while the weather is warm enough to complete the job.?
Add weather stripping around the edges of doors and windows to prevent cold drafts from breaching the seal during the winter. Clean leaves and debris from your gutters so that rain and melting snow won't freeze, causing them to burst and pull right off your house.?
Trim any tree branches that are overhanging your roof as well as those that are close to electric and utility wires. Close the water supply to your outside taps and drain the water supply lines leading to them. Drain all of your hoses and store them in your shed or garage. If you have a lawn or garden sprinkler system, be sure to both drain it and blow out the lines.?
Check to be sure that your handrails and walkways are in good condition. If they need work, now's the time to repair them. Do not wait until the cold weather arrives.?
Drain the gas from your lawnmower and any other engines that won't be used until next spring. Getting the gas out of the engine will prevent old gas from gumming up the carburetors, making the engines easier to start next spring. Ensure that your snow blower will start and have it serviced if there is a problem. Make sure that your snow shovel is in good repair. Replace it if it's not. It's also a good idea to spray your snow shovels with WD-40 or cooking spray to prevent snow from sticking when you're shoveling.?
Plant your spring bulbs and dig up any bulbs (such as dahlias) that won't survive in the cold. Buy some bags of salt, ice melt, or sand so you can avoid the mad rush when that first snowfall arrives.? Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to be sure they're working properly. Install fresh batteries. Gather the phone numbers of your utility companies as well as your furnace technician. Store them near your telephone or tape them inside your phone book.?
Be prepared for emergencies. Purchase a supply of bottled water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, batteries, candles, matches (a lighter also works), warm clothes, blankets, a portable radio, and a camp stove for cooking. Consider purchasing a backup generator so your home will be able to function even without utility power.