Nine handy steps for winter prep
Winter is on its way, but it’s not all hot cocoa, scenic snowfalls and family holidays. If you want to keep your home warm and safe, the cold weather calls for a few special preparations. Knock them out now, and you can relax all season long.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of essential steps and hot tips to get you started. Some you can do yourself (or with a little help) in a snap; others will require a bit of professional help.
1. Change up your ceiling fans.
You read that right; we’re going to talk about how fans can be your best pal in winter. If you have ceiling fans in your home, check to see if they have a reverse setting. If so, throw them in reverse, and you might even be able to turn down your thermostat a degree or two. The theory here — and it’s supported by Energy Star — is that running the fan at a low speed in a clockwise direction will create a gentle updraft and force warm air near the ceiling down into the room below.
2. Drain and turn off exterior faucets.
Winter’s freezing temperatures bring the risk of undrained water freezing in pipes. Avoid a burst by disconnecting all hoses, draining any remaining water from the faucet and, finally, turning off the shut-off valve inside your home. If you have frost-proof faucets, you may be able to forgo the final step, but we subscribe to the “better safe than sorry” theory of winter preparedness.
3. Stock up on cold weather essentials.
Add items like ice melt, windshield washer fluid, salt, shovels and firewood to your shopping list before you think there’s any chance you’ll need them. There’s nothing less fun than realizing you don’t have a shovel after the first big snowfall of the season hits.
4. Caulk it up.
Combating cold air entry and drafts is a significant portion of keeping your home nice and cozy even when it’s bitter cold outside. Take a walk around the exterior of your home, checking the seal on all doors and windows. If you can see any gaps bigger than the width of a nickel, you’ll want to reseal them using a caulking gun and resilient silicone caulk (gaps bigger than the width of a nickel need to be resealed).
5. Clean the gutters.
Gutters packed with leaves and other debris can be a recipe for water backups or ice dams. Many cleaning services are available to assist with the cleanout if you’re not comfortable braving a ladder.
Call in a pro
1. Evaluate the state of your roof.
If you do feel at home on a ladder, you’ll want to take the opportunity of the vantage you have while cleaning the gutters to do a scan for loose or missing shingles. If you spot any issues, have a handyman take care of those minor repairs before snow and ice expose you to the risk of leaks or water damage. If heights aren’t your thing, you can also pay for an inspection or recruit an eagle-eyed loved one to do the initial scan for you.
2. Hire a chimney sweep.
There’s nothing quite like a crackling fire on a cold day, but you’ll want to make sure your chimney is clean and in good working order before cozying up.
3. Blow out the sprinklers.
If you have an irrigation system, call in a professional to drain it for the winter to avoid the risk of any pipe bursts as a result of frozen water.
4. Get a checkup for your heater.
Fortune favors the prepared — or, in this case, those who call an HVAC professional ahead of winter’s arrival to have a quick inspection and service. This measure doesn’t come for free, but it’s a great way to ensure your system is clean and operating as efficiently as possible.
If you’re fond of the colder seasons but not of the maintenance, get in touch to learn how life at a Holiday Retirement community can free you up to focus exclusively on the things you love.