Guest writer, Clara Beaufort, founder of Gardener Gigs, shares her tips on how to prepare your home for the cold winter ahead.
Temperatures are dropping (and staying there), and you’re really looking forward to the chilly winter months: Sitting by the fire, drinking hot cocoa, seeing friends and family over the holidays. But before you break out the scarves and mittens, your home needs some attention.
Read on for some important home maintenance tasks that, once completed, will keep your home running smoothly and safely throughout the cold winter months.
While winter sounds great in theory, it can be tough on your home. Your home can handle it, though; after all, it was built to last. But you have to give it a little TLC to keep everything running smoothly and safely.
Start with the outside of your home.
Take a look at the trees in your yard, especially those that are in close proximity to your house. Are they healthy? Are there limbs that are right next to or leaning upon your home? Trees near the house that aren’t in good condition can be hazardous, especially during the winter, when ice and snow can pile up and break them, which can cause roof damage, broken windows and downed power lines. It’s best to call a professional service, like Giroud Tree and Lawn, to do any tree trimming or removal necessary to keep your home and family safe come winter.
Next, clean your gutters. When gutters get full of gunk, they don’t drain water properly, which means the water will pool around the foundation, eventually causing very expensive damage. While you’re out there, check your wooden deck. Watch for loose nails or rotted planks that need to be replaced. Check if it’s still sealed well, and if it’s not, reseal it. A good sealant will keep your deck looking great for years to come.
Don't Neglect Indoor Maintenance Projects
Once you’re ready to move on to indoor projects, start by replacing your air filters. Air filters should be replaced every one to three months, depending on what kind of filter you use. Some are meant to last longer than others. Clean filters help your heating and air conditioning system work more efficiently and last longer. Your furnace and air conditioner could use some service, too. Taking care of the A/C now will prevent long waits in the spring, which is the busy season for air conditioner repairs. Furnaces tend to quit during the coldest times of year, so getting them inspected and serviced is a good way to prevent disaster.
Speaking of cooling, check your refrigerator. Clean the coils underneath to help it run more efficiently, and clean and check the seals on the doors. This prevents air leaks, which waste energy. While you’re at it, give the fridge a good cleanout.
Next, move on to the range hood. This filter gets nasty from grease and food smells. Cleaning the filter will ensure it lasts longer, prevent fires, and make your cooking just a little bit cleaner.
You want to use your fireplace on those cold, winter nights, so call a chimney sweep. Unfortunately, they don’t sing and dance like in the old movies, but they do keep your fireplace working safely. If you burn wood, creosote gets into the lining of the chimney over time, causing a serious fire hazard. While you’re at it, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Your family’s lives are worth it.
Check your pipes to make sure they’re insulated. Pipes in unheated areas of the home are in danger of freezing, so they should be insulated. On really cold nights, open cabinets that hide pipes to allow heat to reach them. If you go out of town, don’t turn the thermostat to below 55 degrees. Otherwise, you’ll come home to a very unhappy situation. If you go out of town for the winter, turn off the main water line and drain pipes.
Make sure your dryer vent is clean and unclogged. Dryer lint is highly flammable, so making sure it leaves your house is important. A clogged vent can also damage the dryer, making it run less efficiently.
Getting your home ready for winter will help you prevent disaster down the road. The chore list isn’t long, so get to it!
Clara is a retired small business owner, who was born with two green thumbs. Clara founded GardenerGigs because of her desire to have more space to cultivate, nourish, and beautify. GardenerGigs recognizes that gardens, whether they’re growing fruits, vegetables, or flowers, bring communities together, and no space that can be cultivated should go untilled. You can read more of Clara's tips at www.gardenergigs.com.