By the time fall rolls around, most of us are ready to say ‘goodbye’ to the summer heat, and hello to a few months of cool weather. However, autumn is more than just a time to enjoy the changing color of the leaves and the dropping of the mercury in the thermometer; it’s a time to prepare your home for the coming ravages of winter. After all, if you don’t take care of potential problems now, before they actually happen, you could find yourself stuck with some major repair work right in the middle of the Holiday Season. Here’s a quick list of things you need to do to prepare your home for the coldest months of the year.
1. Prune back your hedges, shrubs, and branches.
When it comes to being covered in snow, the plants with less surface area are less likely to get damaged. Trimming back your outdoor plants will help keep them safe, and will give them a nice fresh start to grow from once spring arrives.
2. Check around your doors and windows.
With the cold fast approaching, now’s the time to locate any areas of your home through which heat could escape. Make sure that the caulking around you windows is solid and free from cracks, and check around your doors to make sure that they shut securely without leaving gaps.
3. Give the heater a test run.
Replace your furnace filter, open your vents, and kick the heater into high gear, because you’ll want to make sure that your heater works before you get trapped inside during a blizzard. If you notice any problems, call a repairman and get it sorted out quickly.
4. Clean and cover the AC outdoor condensing unit.
This is good idea especially if your area drops into low temperatures or has heavy snowfall. Use a high pressure hose to clean any debris out of the condensing unit, and then cover it up for the winter. If left open, the harsh winter weather could damage your system, leaving you without a cooling system once things begin to heat up again.
5. Clean out your gutters.
If you have any trees near your house, then chances are that once all the leaves have fallen, you’ll have rain gutters that are absolutely full of debris. Clean these out before the weather starts to get any worse, otherwise you could have to deal with water buildup and ice damage.
6. Check the roof.
If you have any missing or damaged shingles, you should hurry to get them replaced before winter arrives. Also check to see if you have any significant air leaks coming up through the roof, and have them repaired if you do.
7. Blow out your sprinkler system.
In many areas, simply turning off your sprinklers isn’t enough to protect them. Have your sprinkler lines completely emptied of any residual water by using an air compressor (or hiring someone to use an air compressor) to blast it free. Water left in the pipes could freeze, causing massive damage to your home irrigation system.
8. Fix any cracks in your driveway and other paved surfaces.
Small cracks can become big eyesores if you allow water to get into them and freeze. So, before that happens, take a close look at any of your paved surfaces and fill any cracks with either poured concrete or special concrete crack sealer.