The fall season offers a last chance to enjoy the outdoors before the days get short and the cold weather blows in. It’s also the opportune time to prepare your home for the months ahead, so you’re ready when the first cold day and winter storm hit.
Set aside an autumn weekend dedicated to home maintenance and get started on these eight essential winter preparation tasks for your home.
Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up and Chimney Sweep
The first thing you should do before the nights get cold is scheduling a furnace inspection and tune-up. Have a furnace installation and maintenance look at your furnace, make minor repairs and upgrades, and let you know if it’s time to start thinking about a replacement. This integral winter home maintenance task will ensure your furnace is running efficiently and safely before it’s time to turn on the heat.
If you have a fireplace, it’s also the time to schedule a chimney sweep. Ideally, you’ll schedule this home maintenance task annually or bi-annually, depending on whether you use the fireplace as your primary heat source. This essential home maintenance task helps prevent chimney fires and ensures toxic fumes are venting outward.
Clean the Gutters
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with a proper “autumn” season, you’ll experience the joys of watching the leaves change and fall. The problem with this natural spectacle is that many of those leaves will end up in your gutters. This is an issue as you enter the rainy or snowy season for winter.
Your gutters play an important role in directing water away from your home. If your gutters are overrun with debris, the water could seep into the roof or walls, causing costly damage and mold. Consider using a gutter cleaning tool to navigate this process or hire a service. Many roofing companies offer gutter cleanings and inspections to make any minor roofing repairs before the winter hits.
Put Together a Storm Kit
If you live in an area that’s prone to storms, you should have a winter storm kit ready to go. This kit should include some survival basics for if the power goes out, as well as the materials you’ll need to dig out when the storm has passed.
Consider these must-have items for your winter storm kit:
- First aid kit
- Canned goods
- Lighter or matches
- Portable charger
You should also stock up on materials like sand or road salt if you live in an icy area. Finally, put together a vehicle storm kit that has jumper cables, thermal blankets, and the items listed above.
Check and Repair Caulking and Weather-stripping
Take some time to inspect your windows and doors to see if the caulking and weather-stripping need to be touched up or replaced. This simple chore can save you hundreds in heating by sealing drafts.
Tidy and Store Outdoor Equipment
Fall is the best time to clean and tuck away your gardening tools and any outdoor furnishings you may have. Store away outdoor pots and take this opportunity to do some winter yard preparations as well— tilling and mulching the gardens, etc.
Clean Vents and Filters
Before you turn on your heating system, take the time to clean your filters and vents. Replace any old filters that need it, and vacuum vent openings and ductwork to remove allergens and blockages. You should also take this opportunity to vacuum out your dryer vent and lint trap.
Replace Batteries in Alarms
Keep yourself safe by replacing batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to test them and make sure everything is working as it should.
Switch the Fans
Finally, switch your ceiling fans from counterclockwise to clockwise. Running your fans clockwise on low in the winter creates an updraft that pushes warm air back toward the floor. This simple switch is a great way to get the most out of your home heating costs.
With these simple tips, you can prepare your home for winter. Now you just need to get mentally prepared for the months ahead.