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10 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Autumn is a great season for fun events and holiday get-togethers with family and friends. It’s also the perfect time of year to get your home ready for winter.

Here are 10 tips to help you get your home ready for winter, so you can stay warm and dry inside when it’s cold and wet outside.

  1. Test your heating system and replace filters
    Turn on your heat before you need it to make sure everything is working properly. Don’t wait until you need to heat your home to find out there is a problem. You may have to wait days in the cold to get someone to come out for repairs. This is also a great time to replace the HVAC filters.
    Watch our short video about how to replace an HVAC air filter.
  2. Schedule routine HVAC inspection and maintenance
    Even if you have a new home it’s a good idea to have your HVAC system inspected twice a year. That way any issues that might prevent the system from working efficiently can be dealt with before the peak demand. The technician can also detect and prevent issues that could cause problems in the future, so your family stays warm and comfortable all winter.
  3. Test smoke alarms
    Protect your ears with earplugs, headphones or earbuds and test your smoke alarms by pressing the TEST button. It will issue a very loud shrill sound. If any of your alarms are emitting an occasional loud beep or have a blinking red light, replace the battery. That way even if the power goes out, you’ll be alerted to any smoke in the house.
  4. Reverse ceiling fan rotation
    Make sure your ceiling fans are blowing air down instead of pulling air up. Most ceiling fans have a switch on the housing for reversing the rotation of the blades if needed. This will pull the warm air accumulating at the ceiling down into the room to make it warmer. Reverse the rotation when the weather turns warm in the late spring.
  5. Clean gutters
    Clogged gutters can back up with rain water which will turn to ice when the temperature is below freezing. This can cause expensive repairs if not corrected. Make sure gutters are free of leaves and debris.
  6. Do a visual roof inspection
    Do a visual inspection of your roof to make sure it is clean with no damaged shingles, flashing or plumbing boots. If you have a steep roof or can’t access your roof, you may want to call a professional roofer to do a comprehensive inspection.
  7. Drain sprinkler system
    Don’t forget to drain your sprinkler system to avoid expensive repairs from broken lines and sprinkler heads. Turn off the water to the system and drain the lines. Remove the heads and shake out the water before replacing them.
  8. Disconnect garden hoses from faucets
    Water left in hoses and faucets can freeze and break the water lines just inside the wall. Disconnect all garden hoses from faucets at the house and yard. Shut off water to supply lines to exterior hose bibs in the yard or garden. Drain all hoses and put away for the winter.
  9. Remove fuel from lawn equipment, clean and stow
    Fuel left in mowers and weed trimmers can leave a buildup that can corrode the fuel lines and carburetors preventing them from starting in the spring. Drain all excess fuel from the tanks and run the engine until it stops to remove all fuel from the carburetor and fuel lines. Clean any grass buildup on the bottom of the mower and stow for winter.
  10. Prune plants and trees
    Dead tree limbs can break and cause expensive damage to your home. Even healthy trees can damage your roofing and siding in a wind storm if they are making direct contact. Late autumn in the best time to prune trees and plants. Keep limbs and branches at least three feet from your house.

A little bit of maintenance and preparation can prevent expensive and aggravating problems and repairs this winter. Use these 10 tips to help you get your home ready for winter, so you can stay warm and dry inside while enjoying time with your family.

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7 Important New Home Winter Maintenance Tips

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.

  1. Test your heater before it gets cold to make sure it is working properly
  2. Replace the HVAC air filter
  3. Check smoke alarms
  4. Reverse the direction of ceiling fans to blow down
  5. Clean gutters and roof
  6. Drain irrigation lines
  7. 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.