The falling temperatures are telling us it’s time to prepare for winter weather. You can take care of all of these chores in a single weekend, then relax knowing you’re ready for the cold!
Drain Outside Faucets
Turn off the water supply to all the outside faucets and hose bibs. Disconnect any hoses, then open the faucet to allow the water to drain out. Once the water flow stops, leave the faucet open so it drains and stays empty through the winter. This will help prevent any in-wall damage from frozen pipes.
Clean out the gutters and downspouts. Check to make sure the water is being carried at least 6 to 8 feet away from the foundation.
Check the sump pump (and the backup pump, if you have one).
Make an appointment to have the furnace serviced.
If you have a heat pump, remove leaves and debris from around the outside compressor unit so it has adequate airflow. Trim any shrubbery that has grown around the outside unit as well; they need 2-3 feet of open space on all sides.
Change the furnace filter.
Change the pad in the humidifier.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors (or, if they’re getting close to 10 years old, replace them).
Clean the built-up lint from the dryer hose.
Schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning.
Home Comfort and Energy Efficiency
Check the weather stripping around doors and windows and replace where needed.
Check the insulation in the attic and add batts where necessary (Most attics should be cold during the winter; this helps prevent ice dams).
Vacuum the coils on the fridge and freezer.
Stock up on salt or ice melter (don’t use salt on concrete driveways or steps).
Clean/Wax the snow shovel.
Tune the snow thrower (new plugs/oil/gas treatment).
One Last Thought
Radon levels can rise in the winter as we tighten up our homes. Once you have done your winter preparations, schedule a radon test to determine whether you need to take steps to remediate the levels. Even if you had a radon test a few years ago, it should be repeated periodically to check for changes in the environment. Read more about the hazards of Radon.