Home winterizing seems like a job for way off in the future here in late Summer, approaching early Fall. But, the season is changing, and so should our priorities when it comes to home maintenance. In securing a home for upcoming seasonal conditions, and to use an image from nature, the early bird really does get the worm. Or, in this case, the early bird lines her nest for warmth against approaching cooler and colder weather.
In any case, here’s house and Real Estate enthusiast Shannon Dauphin with 5 items to check off your Autumn to-do list, that will in turn help you to keep it off your winter to-do list, when it’s too late …
When the air turns crisp and autumn leaves begin to drift, it is time to think about how your house will handle the approaching winter. You probably already know to keep the house warm enough at all times to prevent a pipe freeze, and you likely stock up on ice-melt products to keep your sidewalks clear and safe. But there are several more ways to ensure your house is prepared when the winter winds blow.
Good preparation means starting early. Take these tips to heart today so your chores will be easier when the cold fronts descend on your part of the world:
1. Get the furnace inspected
One of the most important parts of wintertime living is keeping the heat flowing, so make sure your furnace is running at its best. HVAC professionals can get very busy with faulty furnaces during the late winter months, so calling in the early fall will help ensure you get the work done.
2. Look at your roof and gutters
Now is the time to replace any worn shingles, inspect the flashing and add insulation to your attic. Watch for debris in the gutters and downspouts as well – snowmelt can lead to serious runoff, and that needs to be directed away from your home to avoid water damage. Can’t get up on your roof? No worries – a good contractor can handle the inspection in less than an hour.
3. Inspect your windows
Many homes lose a great deal of heat through tiny cracks around windows and doors. Not sure how your windows and doors are doing? Try the candle test. In a perfectly still room, light a candle and hold it near the top, bottom and sides of your doors and windows. When the candle flickers, you have a draft. In some cases, new weatherstripping or caulking can remedy the issue. If you need replacement windows, now is the time.
4. Remember the chimney
A thorough chimney inspection is necessary to make sure your fireplace is safe for winter use. If it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, contact a chimney sweep for help. While you’re at it, put fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
5. Do basic maintenance.
Small maintenance tasks are often overlooked, and that can wreck havoc on your spring.
- Drain water hoses or sprinkler systems
- winterize your lawn mower
- store summer gardening equipment
- Trim back tree branches that overhang power lines to prevent damage from ice-laden limbs.
Autumn is the best time to start handling the tasks that can make winter much easier. Whether you need window replacement, a clean chimney or more insulation to avoid an ice dam on the roof, get it done now before the harsh weather makes the work more difficult.
Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.