The changing of the seasons is always a good opportunity to get organized. As Fall is commencing, this is a great time to make the transition from summer to winter, and begin to get your house ready for the cold months ahead. A winter maintenance checklist for your home follows:
- Put away your lawn mower. During the winter, it no longer needs to be as accessible. If your mower is gas powered, empty the gas tank before storing it.
- Clean up and hang up your gardening tools. Put leftover potting soil, lime, peat moss, etc. into sealed containers. This is also a good time to organize your garage or tool shed.
- Collect any children’s toys that are lying in the yard. Clean if necessary and store them for next spring.
- Once all the leaves have fallen, schedule the gutter cleaner.
- Move your snow shovels and snow blower to an accessible place in your garage or tool shed. If your garage does not have overhead doors, be sure the shovel is located someplace else (i.e., basement, mud room) where it can be easily grabbed in case you need to clear snow that is blocking the garage doors and preventing them from being opened.
- Stock up on kitty litter or sand, in case extra traction is needed. Store in an easy to reach location.
- Clean, cover and store deck or patio furniture.
- Empty pools. For above ground or in-ground pools, be sure to cover them. Clean plastic kiddy pools and store in an enclosed area.
- Turn off outside water.
- Check to make sure your outside lights are functioning. Consider installing timers or motion-based lights so you don’t have to come home in the dark.
- If you use snow tires, this is a good time to have your tires changed. Also, any winter servicing your car will require should be scheduled now.
- Create an “emergency winter box” to keep in your car trunk. This box, which should contain an ice scraper, hat and scarf, blanket, pair of snow gloves and a non-perishable snack, serves as an insurance policy should you find yourself stranded.
- If you have water pipes running through your garage, put pipe insulation around them to prevent the pipes from freezing.
- If you have an outdoor grill, cover it with a heavy duty grill cover. Even if you use your grill year-round, this will help protect it from the elements.
- If you used room air conditioners this past summer, remove the window units and store them. This adds to the life of the unit and also increases the heating efficiency of your house during the winter.
- Switch your storms and screens.
- Schedule a chimney sweep to clean your chimney.
Check your windows and doors to be sure you have adequate weather-stripping in place. If not, add some. Again, this will increase the heating efficiency of the house.
- Make sure your heating system is functioning properly before it gets too cold. Have your furnace serviced if necessary. If your furnace requires periodic servicing, it is better to have it done early, rather than later in the Fall. If your heating system is oil-based, have it cleaned. If your heat is forced air, have the filters changed or cleaned.
- Switch your summer and winter clothing. Have your winter clothes and coats cleaned, if you did not do this before you put them away last summer. This is also a good time to organize your closets and drawers.
- This is a good time to make sure you and your children have boots that fit and that are waterproof.
- Start your holiday shopping early. December will be here before you know it!
- Stock up on emergency supplies such as batteries, flashlights and candles in the event a fall hurricane or winter blizzard impacts your electricity.
- Consider a good, absorbent area rug in the traffic area entering the house to sop up water and snow.
- If you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove, this is a good time to place your firewood order.