Fall/Winter Checklist

Cold weather is coming so here is a short article on what should be done around the home before it really hits.

  1. Clean and prepare your lawn mowers for storage. To keep your lawn mowers running in peak performance when spring comes around again and to not deal with the problems of it not starting it is a good idea to add an additive stabilizer to it. This will help the gas from deteriorating further while sitting for so long. Another thing you should do with your lawn mower is clean it thoroughly because caked on mud and grass can prematurely rust out your lawnmower. When putting the lawnmower away for the winter make sure that it is stored in a clean dry space and cover it if needed.
  2. Attic ventilation clean up. Be sure that your ventilation is clear of debris and critters building a home there. This will help prevent ice dams on the roof this winter.
  3. Take off garden hoses from outside faucets. You don’t water to freeze in your water hoses when the first frost hits so make sure to remove the hose from your faucet and drain any water out of it by coiling it over your shoulder. If you notice that your outdoor faucet still drips after you have shut it off make sure you repair this or shut off the water valve to the faucet to prevent icing up over the winter. Water freezing and expansion can cause problems.
  4. Drain and shut off your lawn sprinkler system. If you have an underground sprinkler system be sure to drain the water out of it and shut it off for the winter. Turn off the power, shut off the system so it doesn’t try to start again on a timer, open the drain valves to let out the water or use compressed air to blow the water out of the system.
  5. Yardwork. Before you put away all of those landscaping tools be sure that your trees and bushes are trimmed back and pruned. When looking at the branches of your trees and where your bushes are located envision how they will look weighed down with snow and ice. Will it cause problems? Will they droop onto power lines? Will your bushes cause ice to form on the siding of your house?
  6. Seal air leaks around the house. Take a walk around the house and check for leaks that need to be caulked, repaired or both. Did you cat scratch up the the weather stripping around the door? Replace it! Go around the house while it is still relatively warm out with the appropriate caulking and caulk any gaps that you see. Important areas to examine are around trim, windows, and where pipes enter the house. If caulk is not enough, consider filling in larger gaps with expanding foam. Not only will this make your house more comfortable in the winter it will also save you money.
  7. Clean your gutters. Leaves that have fallen in the gutter can trap moisture and dirt that can cause freezing and rusting to the gutters so it is time to clean your gutters before you have to wait months to do it later.
  8. Inspect your roof. Check the tar you use around the chimney. Does it need to be replaced? Do you have loose shingles that need attention? It is best to get things like this taken care of before winter hits or else it will end up costing you MUCH more after winter is done with the amount of damage that snow and freezing weather can do if it seeps in further and sits all winter.
  9. Check the drainage around the house. Did rain come off of the roof cause a small ditch close to your home? It is important to build up the slope around the foundation of your home before snow hits. Otherwise, when the snow thaws you may find yourself with a flooded basement.
  10. Tools and materials ready for winter? Make sure you have plenty of ice melt on hand before you it is too late. How is the condition of your snow shovels? Does your snow plow need repairs? Ice chipper still sharp and in good shape? Do you need one this winter?
  11. How is your furnace doing? You may have not used it in a while but that doesn’t mean that it is working fine. It is worse to find out that it doesn’t work when you really need it. It is generally a good idea to have it cleaned and inspected each year during the fall to make sure everything is all right and to make it more efficient to save you money.
  12. Time to Chimney Sweep. Before you start up your fireplace in the winter time it is a good idea to have it inspected and cleaned before you start using it more often. This may save your house from a fire in the winter time. Nothing is worse than having to move in the middle of winter!

Air Conditioning. Since you don’t need air conditioning for a while either remove it or cover it up in the winter. You don’t want snow and ice build up to ruin your air conditioning unit so that you can get a long life out of it.