Winterizing the home is a great way to feel more comfortable during the cold winter months. You’ll save money on your energy bills and be more at ease. Doing a little maintenance in the fall can also save you the trouble making serious repairs, like burst pipes and pest issues.
If you’re not sure where to begin, check out the following list.
- Pest-Proof the Home
Pest-proofing will save you the trouble of an infestation this winter. Mice often sneak into people’s homes when the temperature drops. Examine the exterior of your home very carefully, looking for gaps and cracks that could fit a mouse. Using a flashlight, look under the deck, and look for cracks between siding panels. Wall vents, door gaps, cracks in the foundation, holes surrounding the cable lines, and gaps between the soffits and the brick wall are common entry points.
Make all the repairs you can, and seal gaps with caulking. Put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors and stuff larger holes with steel wool. Plastic wall vents can be covered with mesh from the hardware store. Remember that anything that would fit a pen will fit a mouse. If you need help, contact Whitby Pest Control.
2. Clean the gutters
Gutters get stuffed with leaves and debris over time. It’s important that you have these cleared every year or so to prevent damage. Gutters that don’t flow properly will leak water down the walls of the house, which will cause water damage and risk flooding the basement.
Give yourself an afternoon to give the gutters some TLC. Grab a pair of gloves, a ladder, a gutter scoop, and a bucket, then scoop everything out. Finish the job by rinsing the gutters clean. While you’re at it, check that the gutters are angled to let water flow, and that nothing is loose.
3. Change the HVAC filter
The HVAC filter should be cleaned or replaced every few months to improve air quality. Moreover, filters that have gotten dirty and clogged increase the cost of heating and cooling because they make it harder for your machine to push air out.
Shut off your HVAC system, then remove the filter and replace it with a new one that fits. If it can be cleaned, take the filter to your shower and wash the dust off.
4. Stock up the pantry
Lots of foods are in season during the fall. Potatoes, squashes, pumpkins, parsnips, and loads of other vegetables are available at low prices, so it’s a good time to stock up. Get yourself some seasonal items that you can keep in the pantry or prepare ahead of time for family gatherings and special events.
Cleaning up the pantry is also a great way to stay organized and avoid pests. Store things like flour, sugar, and pasta in sealed containers, so you can always keep track of what you have and keep the pantry clean. Storing things in jars and large containers also allows you to buy in bulk, which saves you money.
5. Fix drafts
Fall is a good time to fix drafts because it will save you money on your heating bill. Light a candle and hold it near a closed window. If the flame flickers, there is a draft. Examine your window frames carefully and fill in any cracks you find with caulking. You can also add locks and weatherstripping to your windows to improve the seal.
For added comfort around the house, you can add rugs to your floors and switch the curtains to heavy drapes. You can also switch the direction of the blades on your ceiling fans so that they push air down, preserving the warmth inside the room.
6. Check on the attic
It’s important to have the attic inspected every once in a while. If you can, go inside and check on the insulation. If it looks wet, dirty, crusty, or damaged, it needs to be replaced. Spotty insulation may also cause drafts and cold spots throughout the house. Having good insulation will therefore reduce your energy bills and keep you more comfortable.
While you’re up there, check for mold and signs of animal invasions, as well. Mold usually indicates that a pipe is leaking or there is a hole in the roof. Raccoons, mice, and squirrels like to nest in attics during the fall, so if you can catch them early on, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Call a wildlife removal expert if you see any signs of an animal invasion.
7. Shut off the garden hose
Empty out the garden hose and put it away in a shed or in the garage for the winter. You should then shut off the water valve that lets water outside. Doing so will prevent any water from freezing and bursting the pipes. You’ll also avoid getting cracks in the hose, preserving its usage.
8. Put away patio furniture
Find a place to store your patio furniture out of the rain and snow. If you can’t, invest in some waterproof furniture covers from the hardware store. Protecting your furniture will help to prevent rust and keep everything clean, so they last longer. It also makes setup easier in the spring. Simply remove the covers when you’re ready to enjoy the outdoors again.