Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone, which means we’re heading into the homestretch of fall 2015. It’s hard to believe winter is only a little less than three weeks away, but it will soon be upon us. I know we’re all busy getting ready for the upcoming holiday season, but we can’t forget the importance of prepping our homes for the winter. Although we can’t be certain about what kind of winter we’ll have, it won’t hurt to prepare your house for the oncoming cold weather.
During the winter, even if you think your house has proper heating, the cold may find a way to sneak in. Drafty windows will prevent you from feeling the full effect of your house’s heating, so you have to combat this chilliness.
“If your windows are drafty, you need to do something about it,” said Michael Graessle, associate broker for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s office in White Plains, NY. “Replacing windows can be expensive, but it needs to be done. Or, you can get plastic covers to put over them in order to keep the heat in.”
Spend a few minutes to walk around your house and property to check out the trees. If there are any trees that seem overextended, trim them. If too much snow begins to pile on the branches, there becomes a greater risk of them breaking off the trunk, having the potential to cause harm to passersby or falling onto your house or car. It will be best to start getting rid of these branches sooner rather than later before the winter gets any closer.
Be sure to stock up on rock salt, or any other preferred ice-melt products. These tend to sell quickly, so get to your local hardware store and buy a couple of bags or pails so you’re ready for when the first snowstorm hits. If you have an icy walkway, porch steps, or driveway, using ice-melt is one of the best ways to get rid of the danger of slipping and falling. All you have to do is scatter some over your ice-covered services, and it begins to work like magic.
If you have a snowblower, make sure it’s working properly, and also purchase enough fuel for it. Of course, you don’t really need to use a snowblower when you only have a few inches of snow, but you don’t want to get caught with one that doesn’t operate properly when you have close to two feet of snow. Getting rid of all that with a shovel will take forever, especially if you have a lot of space to clear. When using a snowblower, you will get rid of the snow much quicker, and it will be a lot less strain on yourself. One of the last things you want to feel besides the cold is aches all over your body.
If you have a fireplace, odds are you haven’t used it since last winter. Because of this, you should get it cleaned before you fire it up (See what I did there?). Over the year, soot has probably built up in your chimney, and a family of birds maybe even decided to build a home in there. In this situation, hire a professional chimney cleaner to take care of it. Chimney cleaners tend to get busy during the fall and winter, so it would be best to call one before you get well into the fall season.
Here’s a tip you probably didn’t think of: having your ceiling fan spin in reverse. I know many of you probably associate ceiling fans with warmer weather, but they can also be of help when trying to make your house warmer. Counterclockwise rotations provide cooler breezes, while clockwise rotations will provide warmth. If you switch the direction in which the fan spins, the air that has been collected near the ceiling gets circulated back into the living space. Doing this can save you money on heating costs. Who wouldn’t want that?
Much like turning off a light when you leave a room, you should remember to turn down your thermostat when you leave your house. I know it may seem tempting to leave the heat on when you’re not at home so you can come back to the warmth afterwards, but this is a waste if there isn’t anybody at home to enjoy the warmth. It won’t take long for your house to become warm when you turn up the thermostat upon retiring home, so save on your heating costs by turning down the thermostat when there isn’t anyone in the house.
I know we all crave a winter where we only get a little bit of snow and we stay somewhat above freezing temperatures. But, until we’re graced with a winter like that, do what you can to prepare your house for the upcoming season. You still have time before winter begins on December 21, so start getting ready!