There’s a crispness in the air and you find yourself reaching for your favorite sweatshirt when you go outside – fall is here! And although it’s a beautiful time of year, you should take heed of the cooler temperatures and start prepping your house for winter now. There are several things you can do to make sure you will enjoy the comforts of home this year without paying a fortune.
Windows and Doors Create Drafts
Your windows and doors often create drafts that lead to using more heat than necessary to chase the chill away. Use weather-stripping around frames and check for drafts throughout the house. Take out the window screens and install storm windows. If you have older, wooden windows make sure they are properly caulked and that there isn’t any wood rot.
Make Sure Your Fireplace is Safe
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, it’s a great way to keep heating bills down and create a cozy atmosphere, but only if the fireplace is working efficiently. Check the firebox and flue, clean out all the old ashes, soot and creosote. If you’re getting cold air down your chimney even when the flue is closed, it could be worn out or warped. Consult with a chimney sweep or repairman about replacing it.
There are filters on your furnace and humidifier that should be replaced regularly. Now is the perfect time to change them out so that you’ll have better air quality when you close the doors and windows. If you use a humidifier, clean it thoroughly. This is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Make Sure Your Exterior Is Sound
Ice dams can quickly form and pull down your gutters if you don’t clear out any debris such as fallen leaves and twigs. Clean them out thoroughly and flush water through them to check for any leaks. Don’t forget to make sure your downspouts direct water at least five feet from your foundation. Check any openings such as dryer vents to make sure they are covered with mesh or wire so that they aren’t a welcoming place for bird or rodents to take up residence.
Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Deck & Lawn
Although you won’t be hosting any cook-outs this winter, you still need to make sure your deck, sidewalks and yard are properly prepared for the colder temperatures, ice and snow. Trim shrubs and trees that are touching the house or impinging on electrical wires. You don’t want to lose power or have a snow-laden branch fall and damage your house.
This is the ideal time of year to aerate your lawn, reseed it if necessary and apply a final, winterizing fertilizer. These will encourage deeper root growth in the spring so that your grass will flourish. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, contact Mr. B’s Lawn Service or PennTurf and they can do the work for you.
Wash off your garden tools and store them in a cool, dry space so that they’ll be ready for spring. This includes removing hoses from the outside of the house, wrapping exterior faucets with heat tape and shutting off all irrigation and watering systems.
Sweep your deck and sidewalks to keep debris under control and make sure all railings are secure so that visitors won’t slip and fall. Now is also the time to order Ice B’Gone Magic ice melt from Mr. B’s to have on hand when the first snowfall or ice storm makes your deck and sidewalks treacherous. Keep a large scoop in the bag and place the bag in a large bucket or container to make it easy to use when needed. You can call Mr. B’s Lawn Service at 724-752-5551 to order your Ice B’Gone Magic in convenient, 50-pound bags.
Now settle in with a good book, a cup of cocoa and enjoy the beauty of winter!