Autumn is here and it brings with it turning leaves and a chill in the air. While fall is mostly pleasant, it reminds everyone that just over the horizon is winter. As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, it’s time to start preparing for the harsh cold months ahead. From frozen pipes to intermittent power loss, there’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t take the time to put in some work now which will eventually save you money, effort, and time in the future. This handy checklist will help you make sure that everything is all set for the coldest season of the year.
Make preparations for your driveway and sidewalk
Slippery driveways and sidewalks can lead to dangerous driving conditions and slip and fall accidents. Getting everything ready to keep them clear from snow and ice should be done as early as the first sign of fall to avoid any inconveniences. That means picking out a shovel, tuning up the snowblower, booking snow removal services for the upcoming weeks, investing in non-slip mats or shoes, and stocking up on ice prevention and de-icing products way before you even need them, so that you’re already prepared for when winter arrives.
Purchase a carbon monoxide detector
Heating up a home in the winter can produce an excessive amount of carbon monoxide (CO), particularly if the heating appliances aren’t electric and instead rely on burning fuel. If you’re using any fuel-burning appliances such as a fireplace, gas stove, or furnace this winter, then chances are, it will release tons of CO in the air which can be detrimental to your health in the long run.
To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended that you invest in a durable carbon monoxide detector. These devices will track CO levels and notify you if they reach dangerous levels. Make sure every floor of your house has at least one installed and don’t forget to check the batteries every once in a while.
Have your furnace inspected
Furnace manufacturers recommend getting an annual inspection and maintenance done by a professional to ensure that your unit promotes proper airflow throughout your home, and maintains a normal level of carbon monoxide. This is beneficial for many reasons. Firstly, you get to prolong the manufacturer’s warranty since it’s usually terminated if the heater breaks down due to a lack of maintenance and care. Secondly, it saves you time and money by reducing the risk of costly repairs in the future and enhancing the energy efficiency of the unit, thus lowering your monthly energy costs.
Insulate your pipes
Frozen pipes are susceptible to bursting, which can lead to serious structural problems within the home. To prevent this from occurring, it’s important to insulate pipes and keep them from coming in contact with the cold. One way to do this is by wrapping them with foam pipe sleeves or a pipe wrap. It also helps to insulate the walls surrounding it. For outdoor faucets and pipes, you need to shut off the flow of water, completely drain the pipes, and plug the openings with foam or a towel.
Secure the windows and doors
Cold air can leak through the gaps between windows and doors, especially if they’re older or broken. You should have them fixed and sealed up with some basic weatherstripping for protection. Small gaps and cracks can be secured with caulking, open-cell foam, rolled vinyl, or reinforced silicone — which are just a few of the many options available to choose from for effective weatherstripping.
Book a chimney inspection and cleaning
If you’ve been using your chimney during the fall or if you haven’t had it examined since last winter, then it’s long overdue for an inspection and a cleaning. Each time you use your fireplace, condensed smoke accumulates in your chimney, which is highly flammable and can lead to a chimney fire. This is why it’s important to schedule regular cleanings and inspections. Furthermore, you need to seal up cool air leaks and get rid of debris such as leaves, twigs, and birds nests.
Take care of your lawn and put away outdoor furniture
Prepare your lawn for winter by properly trimming and sufficiently watering trees, flower beds, and shrubs. When you’ve taken care of your yard, it’s time to put away outdoor furniture or safeguard them from the cold — this includes your pool, if you have one. Cover your swimming pool with a large, heavy tarp and store outdoor furniture and gardening equipment indoors or in a shed.
Some planning and preparation during the fall can go a long way during the winter. Before the harsh temperatures hit, make sure to get all of these preventative measures in order to ensure that you have a cozy and comfortable winter.