Get your home ready for winter in a few simple steps

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The summer season has ended and it’s time for the leaves to start changing and the temperatures to become more tolerable. But that means it’s time to start preparing your home for winter, too.

Winter can be hard on a home, especially if you live in a climate that gets particularly cold. But with a little preventive maintenance now, you can reduce the likelihood of disaster down the road. Here are a few things to do before the cold hits.

  • Clean or replace air filters — You should be doing this every one to three months, depending on the type of air filter you use. Clean filters ease the burden on your furnace and air conditioner.
  • Touch up paint — If you have spots you’d like to spruce up with paint, fall is an excellent time for that. The weather is cooler, and the air is drier — a better climate for the paint and you.
  • Clean refrigerator and coils — The coils underneath the fridge get pretty nasty, especially if you have pets. Cleaning these helps your refrigerator run more efficiently. Use a vacuum. Clean out the fridge and get rid of old food. Make sure you clean and check the door seals, too. This is very important to the efficiency of the appliance.
  • While you’re in the kitchen, clean the range hood — Grease and dirt get into the filter, potentially clogging it up and creating a fire hazard.
  • Test your alarms — Test and possibly replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a small chore that could save lives.
  • Get the ac serviced — Fall is an excellent time to get the air conditioner serviced. If you wait until spring, you might be waiting a long time because it’s the busy season. Your furnace could use a checkup, too.
  • Check the deck — If you have a wooden deck, check to make sure there are no rotted boards or nails sticking out that need to be fixed. It might be time to seal it, too. If you put water on the wood and it doesn’t bead, it’s time to seal it. This will protect the wood over the winter months and keep your deck looking beautiful for years.
  • Get your chimney swept — With use, your wood-burning fireplace gets a buildup of creosote inside the chimney walls. Creosote is an oily substance that comes from the wood you burn. It makes using the fireplace dangerous because it can cause a fire in your home. Chimney sweepers can inspect your fireplace and clean it if necessary, ensuring a safe fire burning season. They can also cap the chimney, which keeps wildlife out.
  • Clean your gutters — Gutters get full of all kinds of nasty stuff. When they don’t drain properly, water builds up around your foundation, which can damage it.
  • Check your dryer vent — Having a clogged or dirty dryer vent can cause your dryer to stop working properly or worse — a fire. Dryer lint is highly flammable, and you want to make sure it’s leaving the house. Make sure it’s clean and dispensing properly.
  • Prevent frozen pipes — Check all the pipes in the house and make sure you know which ones are in unheated areas. Those are in danger of freezing, so they should be insulated. If you go out of town in the winter for any length of time, don’t turn the thermostat below 55 degrees. On especially cold nights, open the cabinets that store pipes, such as under the kitchen sink, and allow faucets to drip. If you’re leaving town for the winter, shut off your water and drain the lines by running the faucets until there’s no more water.

It only takes a few steps to make your home ready for winter. If you take care of your home now, you can prevent much costlier incidents down the road. dadknowsdiy.com