Written by John Rives
It’s that time of year again where most of us are starting to think of Halloween costumes for the kids and young-at-heart adults, Thanksgiving with family and friends, and the holiday season. The days are shorter, the air is cooler and it’s time to break out the jackets, sweaters and cool-weather cloths.
It’s also time to do some home maintenance to get your house ready for the upcoming cold weather of late autumn and winter. Use these 7 important new home winter maintenance tips to help save money on heating and keep your home and yard in good shape through the cold winter months.
Even if you have a new home, you still need to prepare for winter.
- Test your heater before it gets cold to make sure it is working properly
- Replace the HVAC air filter
- Check smoke alarms
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fans to blow down
- Clean gutters and roof
- Drain irrigation lines
- Drain gas from mowers and trimmers
1) Don’t wait until its cold outside to try out your heater for the fist time. Even newer units can sometimes fail or need service. It will be much faster to get any needed service if you schedule the service while the weather is still mild instead of after the first really cold day when HVAC service companies are backed up with service calls.
2) Replace the HVAC filter/s in your home. Dirty filters make it hard for your HVAC system to move air through your heating ducts. Clean filters make for cleaner air inside your home and will help protect your HVAC system for years to come. Watch our short video about how to replace an HVAC air filter.
3) Test your smoke alarms using the TEST button on the face of the alarm. You might want to wear ear plugs while doing this as the high pitched noise from the alarm can be quite loud. If you see a red light blinking on the face of the alarm instead of a green light, you probably need to replace the battery backup in the alarm. That way even if the power goes out, the alarm will still work and be able to alert you to any smoke in your home.
4) Most ceiling fans have a switch that will reverse the rotational direction of the fan blades. You want your ceiling fans to blow air down (usually clockwise) in the winter as the warm air will rise to the ceiling and blowing it back down into the rooms with ceiling fans will help keep your home warmer and might even save money by allowing you to use your heater less.
5) With all the rain, sleet and snow of winter it’s important to make sure you clean all the pine needles and/or leaves from your roof so they don’t end up clogging your gutters and downspouts. It’s a good idea to clean out the gutters as well to make sure they can handle the water from rain and snow melt in the winter. It’s also a good idea to add extensions to the downspout outlet to keep water away from the foundation of your home and make sure your yard drainage is working so you don’t end up with standing water in your yard. Read our article on why you may have standing water in your yard to get tips on how to avoid this problem.
6) Don’t forget to drain your irrigation system before it freezes and you end up with broken lines. It’s easy to forget about the water in the irrigation system once it gets cool outside and you are no longer using it. You may want to call a professional to do this to make sure it is done correctly. It doesn’t cost that much and it will be well worth it to know the next time you need your lawn sprinklers, they will be ready to go. Make sure to turn off all exterior faucets and disconnect any hoses. It’s a good time to roll up and put away any hoses still in the yard and keep them in good shape for next year.
7) It’s not a good idea to leave gas in mowers, trimmers, or anything with a small gas engine for extended periods as the gas can eventually decompose and leave a varnish inside the carburetor and plastic tubing. The easiest way to remove all the gas from small engines is to drain the gas tank and then run the engine until it runs out of gas. Check your manual for other cold-weather storage tips.