10 Things to do around your home before winter

We’ve put together a quick list of some of the most important things you can do around your home to get you ready for the winter season.

1. Clean and or upgrade your Eaves-troughs
Be sure to clean the leaves and other debris out of the eaves-troughs, so that water flows correctly to the downspouts, and doesn’t spill over, freeze and or leak into unwanted areas. If necessary, take the extra step to add extensions to the ends of the downspouts to be sure that water is channeled away from your house.

2. Whip your small engines into shape!
Make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Inflate the tires, change the oil if you didn’t change it at the end of last season, and check the owner’s manual to perform any other basic maintenance.

3. Seal up Masonry
Repair any broken joints or cracks in walkways, steps and stonework to make shoveling a clear pathway easier. Also freezing water will expand and can cause harm to plumbing lines, and cause cracks to grow in driveways and walkways.

4. Drain Outside Water Lines and Faucets
These lines exposed to outside temperatures can freeze causing problems come spring. Start by turning off the water lines inside your house. The shutoff valves are usually located near the main plumbing line that brings water into your home. Then open the spigots to drain the water in the lines. Be sure to put hoses inside for the winter.

5. Get your Heating Systems in Order
Ideally your furnace filters should be changed monthly to maximize the heating system’s efficiency. The filters trap dust and other airborne particles, and some also catch bacteria and pollen. This can reduce utility bills while also extending the lifespan of the furnace.

6. Clean outdoor furniture and bring it inside for the winter season
Keep your outdoor furniture in top shape by cleaning it and putting it indoors for the winter. By protecting it from the elements, they will last much longer, and you will also have a clear path for snow removal on decks.

7. Test alarms and detectors
Winter is a great time of year to make sure all of your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working and batteries are charged. While you’re at it, be sure your fire extinguisher isn’t expired.

8. Eliminate air leaks
Take a walk around your house and look for places where warm air can escape the house, or drafty air can come inside. Pay particular attention to areas around doors and windows. If the caulking is peeling away, scrape it off, clean the surface, and apply a new bead. Another area to look at is where plumbing pipes, ducts, or electrical wires are sticking through the siding. Even small gaps can cause noticeable air leaks, which results in higher energy bills. Sealing leaks is one of the most cost-effective projects you can do for your home.

9. Order firewood
If you’ve moved to a house that burns wood, you’ll want to get your firewood order in. Ask friends or neighbors for suggestions on good sources of seasoned firewood, and make sure you have an area that is dry to protect it from the moisture.

10. Get your chimney swept
If you haven’t had your chimney’s cleaned in a while, it’s probably time. Prepare for the cozy fire season ahead!

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