If you are not sure what you can do to prepare for the coming winter months, there are simple home maintenance tasks that you can undertake. You can tune up your heating system, check for air leakage and water intrusion, and even take steps to prepare for a power outage.
Cleaning out the rain gutters
The fall season is a great time to get a grip on your home’s maintenance regimen. It’s not too cold, and the weather isn’t too hot. There are a number of simple tasks you can do to make your home feel more like home. One of these is the gutter cleaning trifecta.
Taking the time to clean out your gutters can save you from a big mess come winter. You might be surprised at the amount of leaves that get stuck in your downspouts. Having your downspouts clear and properly aligned is a must for homeowners with trees in the backyard. This is especially true if your downspouts are positioned below your foundation.
There are a few tricks to do it right. For starters, use a ladder or a bucket truck to clear out the downspouts. Also, don’t forget to turn off your outdoor spigots before they freeze over.
Upgrading, adding or changing the lights in your home
There are plenty of reasons to upgrade, add or change the lights in your home before winter sets in. Not only can you save on your utility bills, but your family will be safer and more comfortable for a few extra cold nights. Changing your light bulbs is a no brainer, as well. You might even be able to score a few freebies along the way. To keep things on a budget, consider using a home depot style guide to determine which bulbs are compatible with which fixtures. This can go a long way in making sure that you get your money’s worth out of your lighting upgrades.
For those interested in a more hands on approach, you could always hire a licensed electrician to do the job for you. As with any big ticket item, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Preparing for a power outage
If you’re planning to go outside during a power outage, it’s a good idea to pack warm clothing and a hat. People lose heat through their hands, feet and head. To keep warm, cover up with layers of clothing and blankets.
Power outages can last for several hours or days. You should plan to move to another location with more heat. Make sure you have supplies like flashlights and fresh batteries. Also, avoid using ovens for heat.
Make sure your family knows your plan. For instance, your plan could include getting everyone to gather at a common area in case of a disaster. It’s also a good idea to get a portable radio and batteries. Having a battery-powered radio and charger can help you listen to news updates, or stay in touch with your family while you’re waiting for the power to come back on.
Tuning up your heating system
Heating tune-ups are a great way to keep your heating system working efficiently. If you skip tune-ups, you can end up paying more money in the long run. A professional tune-up will help ensure that your system is clean and in good shape.
Before the cold weather arrives, it’s important to make sure that your HVAC system is working properly. If it isn’t, you could be facing a variety of problems. The following tips will help you prevent them.
A furnace needs to be cleaned every season. Dust and dirt can collect in the vents and the combustion chamber. This can cause the air in your home to become dirty and decrease its efficiency. You should check the filter regularly and replace it if necessary.
Preventing air leakage and water intrusion
Doing a few basic home maintenance checks before the cold weather sets in can go a long way towards keeping your house looking like it belongs in the pages of a home improvement magazine. It also has the added benefit of saving you time and money. For example, you might be able to save a few hundred dollars on your heating and cooling bill by ensuring your home isn’t suffering from water damage. If you’re handy, you might even be able to handle some of the more dangerous jobs yourself. You might also want to keep a close eye on your water pressure, especially if you have a basement or crawl space.
While it might not be possible to do it all yourself, you may be able to hire a professional for a few key tasks. In particular, you might want to look into insulating your electrical plates to prevent the dreaded winter chill.