It may not seem like it, but winter is approaching and it’s time to make your monthly to-do list for getting your home ready for the cold season. A suggested schedule:
-Have your furnace inspected by a certified HVAC professional before the winter. If you have a heating system that’s older than 15 years old, consider updating it with a more efficient model.
-Replace your heating system’s air filter to help your furnace use less energy and last longer. (You may have to change it multiple times a year, depending on the type of filter.) -Inspect windows for cracked or broken glass, examine door and window frames for signs of decay, leaks or drafts. Caulk holes and add weather-stripping.
-Check the condition of your attic insulation. A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your attic floor. If the insulation is even with or below the attic floor joists, it’s time to add more.
-Speaking of the attic, use spray foam or foam board to seal holes from the attic into your home.
-Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing a power problem.
-Install storm windows/doors.
-Clean your gutters. If they’re full of leaves and other debris, they can damage roofing, siding and wood trim, which can cause leaks that allow cold air into your house.
-Restock your cold weather supplies before you need it. Don’t wait for the first storm to restock essentials like rock salt.
-Turn off exterior faucets. If you don’t drain the water in your pipes, they can freeze, which will cause them to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and drain all the water remaining in your faucet.
-Reverse your ceiling fans. If your fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the blades in a clockwise direction (from your position, looking up at it) after you turn on the heat. The fan will push down heated air from the ceiling.
-Inspect heating vents to make sure they are open and unblocked by furniture or other items. -If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed—unless, of course, there’s a fire in it.