Get Your Home Ready for Winter
By Piché and Associates
Yes, winter is almost here! And there is still plenty of time to prepare your house for those cold winter months. A little attention now will go a long way toward costly repairs bills next spring, or worse yet in the middle of the coldest and snowiest months of the season.
Some sources, like Kiplinger, suggest 15 steps to winterizing your home while Consumer Reports lists only six items to prep. The list of projects in preparation for winter can be long or short and the work simple or arduous, but look at it as adding value to your investment.
Below are a few essential tasks that you can start with in preparation for winter. As you go along you can always add items to your list.
1. Drain your outdoor faucets-turn the water off leading to your outdoor faucet and then drain the faucet on the outside to prevent freezing of your pipes and a rupture of the line. If you have a lawn irrigation system, make certain you have the system drained before the ground freezes.
2. Minimize the drafts in your home during the winter months by sealing any leaks around windows, doors and other openings on the outside of the home. Check and seal the inside, as well. Inspect the weather stripping around your doors and windows and replace worn out materials.
3. If you have a wood-burning fireplace and plan to use it this season, have it professionally cleaned. If yours is gas-burning, annual maintenance is always a good idea. Have a professional check connections, valves and even clogged vents.
4. Have your furnace inspected and serviced annually. Xcel Energy and Center Point Energy both offer excellent service, maintenance and replacement programs for your HVAC systems and most appliances. If you don’t subscribe check them out: Xcel Energy’s HomeSmart and Center Point Energy’s Home Service Plus. If you don’t have one, install an energy saving setback thermostat to your heating and cooling system. And regularly change your furnace filters for maximum heating and cooling efficiency. Most professionals advise changing the filter at least monthly.
5. Clean your gutters! This will prevent leaking and even ice dams that can occur in the winter.
6. Mulch your leaves and prepare your garden beds for winter. If you take your yard waste to one of the county compost centers, remember they close for the season in November. Check out Ramsey County’s Yard Waste Collection location sites and Hennepin County’s Yard & Waste Disposal location sites for more information. And while you’re at it, on that last use of the lawnmower, drain the gas tank before storing for the winter. This will help you out in the spring when you go to mow the lawn for the first time.
7. Cover or store your patio furniture and drain and clean any water features you may have in your landscaping.
8. Get your snow blower serviced and ready for use now, instead of waiting for the first major snow fall of the season.
Your list may be longer or perhaps shorter. However many items you choose to take care before winter is up to you, but this weekend we will see great weather for prepping your home for winter!