Tips for Getting your Home Ready for Winter
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by TRANE. All ideas and opinions are mine!
I live in New England where Fall means changing temps and preparing our home for winter weather. Thankfully, my checklist isn’t too complicated or time-consuming, but it’s definitely something you want to go through to ready your house for snow and freezing temperature. For those of you who don’t live in a climate where winter means the thermostat drops below freezing, there are still a few items here that should be done for any home on a yearly basis so keep on reading!
Clean Out Your Gutters
Ultimately we will pay someone to help with our higher gutters, but I try to move around the decks and lower areas to check that gutter guards are still in place or that there aren’t any obvious debris clogging the gutters or downspouts. You can use a hose to help see that water is still flowing but a pressure washer is probably too strong for gutters (you don’t want to knock them off the roof or dent/ damage them).
Turn Off Outdoor Spigots
Some outdoor spigots are rated for freezing temperature so you don’t have to worry, but for lots of older homes the water line to outdoor spigots should be turned off to prevent damage. Find your outdoor spigot and follow the water line inside your home by a foot or two and you should see a handle that you can turn to the left to turn off the water to this outdoor spigot.
Close Storm Windows
In many ‘older’ homes in New England, there is a second layer of windows and screens to help insulate the home. In the summer, you slide the storm windows up to the top and slide the screen down so when you open your windows in the summer to have air flow. But there’s a point when the temperature drops enough and it’s time to wrestle the screens up and out of the way and move the storm window down. It’s a pain, but needs to happen. Note: our new house doesn’t have storm windows! Hallelujah!
Change the filter in furnace/ AC units and schedule seasonal maintenance
These filters should be changed numerous times throughout the year, and it’s the EASIEST way you can keep your system running smoothly. The first time we had our unit serviced, I asked the technician to show me how to change the filters and to make sure I knew which size filter to have on hand. Order them in bulk from your local hardware store or online and you should be good to go. There is no reason you need to pay a technician to change your filters so this is not only best practice, but also a real money saver! For more assistance, you can also have your HVAC system checked by a Trane Comfort Specialist; click here to find a dealer near you!
Schedule a Chimney Cleaning
IF I were more organized, I would schedule a chimney cleaning early in the summer when the chimney folks aren’t super busy, but… I’m usually not. The first sign of colder weather, I remember to call and usually have to wait a month or so for them to come and check/ clean our chimney. Whenever you light a fire in the fireplace, both the soot and creosote builds up inside the chimney and can increase your risk of a house fire. So keeping it clean is super important!
Caulk around Windows and Doors
Granted this is sometimes easier to do when you feel a cold draft coming through a window or door, but I make a point of walking around the house and checking windows and doors for places where I need to re-caulk.
Send Out Winter Equipment for Service
This is another ‘could be done during the summer’ tasks that I never remember to do during the summer. We call and have our snow-blower and generator picked up for their yearly service. The oil is changed and other things I don’t understand are checked… belts? spark plugs? Dunno… regardless, this means we’re ready to go when we get the first big weather event.
I suspect there are other items that could be on this checklist, so please let me know as it may vary by geography or region! Leaf pick-up is a BIG part of our fall maintenance in Connecticut. Also stocking up on things like salt and snow shovels… If you live in Arizona, your fall maintenance will look very different so let me know what I’ve missed!
Trane has a lots of great tips for seasonal maintenance on their website: click here for more information.