It doesn’t take binge watching Game of Thrones to know that winter is coming. If you’re a smart homeowner, you’ll start preparing for the season before the temperature plummets and the snow swirls.
Here are some important maintenance tasks, suggested by Justin Pierce in a column in the Washington Post.
Furnace: Change your air filter to get a clean start. It’s also wise to hire an HVAC specialist to inspect your furnace and make sure everything is in working order. As Pierce says, “It’s much better to find an HVAC problem in the moderate temperatures of the fall than it is to find your furnace doesn’t work on a frigid winter day.”
Home exterior: Protect the trim around your home by keeping it painted and caulked. Inspect the exterior and touch up rough spots. Also, be sure any decks are well sealed and stained.
Concrete areas: If patios, driveways or walkways are showing signs of cracking, fill any cracks so water doesn’t get in and freeze over winter, making them worse. Then apply sealer to protect the cement from further damage.
Drainage: Clear gutters of all detritus, and check to see if water is pooling around your home’s foundation. If so, fill the spot with soil. Also, check gutter downspouts to be certain water is flowing away from the home and add downspout extenders if the water is falling too close to the foundation.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: According to Pierce, fires happen most often in winter. And because windows are closed, carbon monoxide is also a greater threat during cold months. Make sure all batteries for these detectors are working.
Outside faucets: Drain the lines so that water won’t freeze, splitting the line or causing leaks. To do this, shut off the water valve to the outside spigot, then open the exterior spigot valve so that existing water drains out of the line. This gives any water that inadvertently remains room to expand without breaking pipes or seals.
Entryways into your home: When it’s cold outside, squirrels, raccoons and other animals seek warmth, which they often find in attics. Have your trees trimmed away from the house, so animals can’t jump onto your roof; secure a screen behind your gable vent, and look for any holes in your soffit and fascia that need plugging.
Lawn: Now is a good time to apply fertilizer with winterizer, so that the lawn will grow nicely in the spring. Also, drain gas out of any lawn equipment to avoid having old gas “gunk up your fuel filters and make your equipment run sickly,” says Pierce.