Brrr….Can you feel the cold air coming? Maybe you’ve noticed the crisp mornings or the cool nights. There’s no denying it. Colder weather is coming and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, there is something you can do to prepare your home for the lower temperatures.
Here’s the ultimate cold weather check list for your home!
Getting a head start on your winterizing is crucial. For one thing the months of November and December are typically busy for most people. Family gatherings, Thanksgiving, Christmas, work parties, New Year’s, etc fill up your schedule pretty quick. Getting a jump on this will allow you relax and enjoy the end of your year.
Do you have an emergency kit for the winter and do you know where it is? Snow and ice storms can wreck havoc on power grids and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Minimally you’ll want to have a kit containing batteries, candles, matches, water, blankets, and snacks.
Check your chimney and flue for damages, congestion, rust, etc. Not only will Santa thank you come Christmas time but you’ll be able to address any draft problems or potential fire hazards when it comes time to start up the fireplace.
Carbon Monoxide Detector & Smoke Alarms
This is a big one. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, run don’t walk to your nearest hardware store and buy one. If you have one, check the batteries and make sure it’s in good working order. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a scary thing. Don’t let it effect your family.
Most homes are equipped with smoke alarms. Test them out and check their batteries as well.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are the main culprits when it comes to cold air entering your home. Check your doors and windows for cracks, leaks, or gaps. If you know a window is drafy, install a plastic covering to keep the area sealed. Add caulking and weather stripping to problem areas as well. Not only will your family thank you for a warmer house, but your wallet will be happy with a lower heating bill.
The exterior checks can be extensive. This is why it’s good to get an early start.
Here’s what Bob Villa has to say about exterior checks.
“Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house.
Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.”
Appliances and Systems
Have a professional come out and check your heating systems. It’s always better to know ahead of time of potential problems vs when it’s 19 degrees outside.
Check your ceiling fans and make sure they are in the reverse position.
Flush your hot water heater to remove sediment and make sure it’s properly working.
Last but not least, don’t forget about your furry friends. If you have outdoor cats and or dogs, have a plan in place for their winter housing. Will you bring them inside? How about a designated place in the garage? While they do have full body fur, extremely cold weather can take a toil on their internal systems.