It is a beautiful fall day here in Western New York… hard to imagine that before we know it, we’ll be buried in snow!
Fall is coming to a close – this is the perfect time to prepare your home for the winter with preventative maintenance! Whether you’ve just moved into a new home, you are a first time home-owner, or you’ve lived in your home for years, it is a smart idea to take care of some simple preparations in order to avoid the risk of expensive repairs down the road. Here are 10 quick, inexpensive tips for preparing your home:
1. Check and seal your windows and exterior doors. Test for drafts on the inside of your windows. (Hold a lit candle close to the window seems, if it flickers you may have to repair the exterior seal). Check the caulk on the outside of the window frames (look for gaps & cracks). If repairs need to be made it is easiest and most efficient to remove the old caulk with a caulk softener so that you may re-seal the window. The new caulk will stick and seal best to a clean surface. Check your local home supply store for materials. How about Chautauqua Brick!
2. Replace your window screens with storm windows. Consider covering window wells in your basement with plastic shields.
3. Have a HVAC professional inspect your furnace. It is a good idea to clean the ducts and replace the filter to help it work more efficiently through the winter months.
4. Consider installing a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to automatically create a heating schedule for your home. For example, I have programmed my thermostat to raise the temperature slightly around 6:00 AM when I wake up, decrease slightly at 8:00 AM when I leave for work, increase again at 5:00 PM when I return home from work and decrease again at 10:00 PM when I go to sleep at the end of the day. This way, my thermostat is not being overused when I am not home or do not need the extra warmth.
5. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected to avoid unwanted fires or fumes entering your home. Chop and store firewood in a dry area.
6. Inspect your downspouts and gutters. Clean the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear out the debris. This will allow melting snow and ice to melt and drain properly.
7. Replace any worn, loose or missing shingles. It’s better to fix them now and prevent the potential damage caused by the weight of the snow!
8. Install smoke & carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they are working properly. Replace any fire extinguishers that are 10+ years old.
9. Clean and store your porch/patio furniture. It will be much easier to take care of this without battling the snow!
10. Bring any of your weather sensitive potted plants indoors. Clear plant debris away from your house to allow proper air circulation and avoid pooling of water against your house when the snow and ice start to melt.
I hope these tips will be useful to you! Taking advantage of some of these ideas will help you maintain your home’s value! Spend a little money in prevention and avoid spending much more $$$ in repairs if winter damage were to occur.
Did we miss anything? What are your creative ways of preparing for the winter season?