As the fall and winter months approach, now is a good time to do some annual maintenance on your home. Getting ready for colder weather means checking, repairing, and readying your home to withstand the upcoming rain, wind, and snow.
We checked with some experts for advice and have compiled this list of “must do” items that every homeowner should check off before hunkering down for the winter.
Check and Replace Worn Weather Stripping
Weather stripping around doors and windows plays a key role in reducing the amount of cold air that enters your home. Check for cracked or worn stripping, and replace with new, more efficient stripping. If caulking is looking worn and ragged, remove it and re-caulk with an efficient, moisture-resistant product. This will help keep the cold from entering your home, which in turn helps to reduce your heating bill.
Seal Gaps Where Critters, Bugs, and Cold Air Come Into Your Home
Take a close look around the exterior of your home and cover any and all gaps you find. Use caulk to seal small gaps near the foundation of your home, or around windows. A heavy-duty screen or hardware cloth works well to cover exterior vents, allowing air to escape but preventing critters from seeking warmth in your home.
Inspect Exterior Walls
If you have a painted exterior, check for any cracks or blisters in the paint surface. This is a sign that a new coat of paint is needed. If left unchecked, that failing paint won’t protect your home, opening you up to much costlier repairs in the future.
Clean Your Chimney
Built-up creosote inside the chimney can cause a house fire, so don’t fire-up that fireplace until the chimney has been cleaned of any debris, animals that have moved in, and creosote build-up. It’s good to have a professional chimney sweep come in to do this done once a year, and fall is the perfect time. You may also want to consider adding a chimney cap to prevent animal nests or homes from being constructed in your chimney in the future.
Stock Up on Firewood
Now is the time to purchase firewood and store it in an easily accessible location. Whether you use wood in your fireplace or in a fire pit during the early fall, you’ll want to have plenty of wood to get you through the fall and winter months.
Remove Window A/C Units
If you use window air conditioning units, now is the time to either remove them from the windows, or purchase and install a protective insulated cover that not only shields the unit from harsh weather, but helps to insulate your home. Make sure this cover fits snugly around the AC unit.