It’s October and the cooler weather is a reminder to get started on preventative maintenance for your home. I’ve yet to own a home that didn’t benefit from a little fall fix-up.
Here are a handful of do-it-yourself projects to get your home in tip-top shape for winter.
- Pick up all fallen leaves to limit damage to grass and “critter” invasions
- Unclog gutters to protect windows and foundations
- Turn off outside water sources and remove water from pipes and hoses
- Get your faucet cover guards to use when it starts to freeze.
- Find air leaks and fix them. Check these areas for leaks or drafts:
- Windows, doors, vents, and fans.
- Plumbing areas
- Air conditioners
- Mail chutes
- Electrical and gas lines
- Weatherstripping is a good DIY project and helps seal warm air in and cold air out of your home. You can get it at most hardware stores, it installs quickly around windows and doors and helps prevent air leaks.
- Caulk cracks or holes in your walls to keep cold air away from pipes.
- Give your home a once over for any exposed or vulnerable piping, and wrap them with insulation. Foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes are easy to install and available at any hardware store.
- Don’t turn the heat down too much when you’re out of the house. You may not be there to enjoy it, but your pipes need the heat to prevent freezing.
- Let faucets drip during serious cold snaps to provide relief for your pipes. If your pipes do freeze, and water stops flowing from faucets, call a plumber immediately!
- Prune tree branches hanging near your house, roof, gutters before it gets too cold. Branches can break from heavy snow and ice and cause all kinds of damage.
- Set ceiling fan blades to move clockwise in winter, and run fans slowly. This lifts cool air to the ceiling and pushes warm air down where you can enjoy it.
- Replace furnace filters monthly in winter. Hold the filter up to the light: If you can’t see light through it, you need a new one. Pleated filters trap more dirt particles than flat surface filters.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. Do it before they start to chirp (always in the middle of the night!)
- Use Autumn’s cool weather to conquer those deep-cleaning chores and close down summer’s outdoor areas.
You may feel more comfortable hiring a professional to do some of these things. Know your limits, and remain safe!
For even more tips on getting your home in the best shape for winter, visit Energy Star.