WINTER IS COMING
EPISODE I: PROTECT YOUR CASTLE
The seasons, they are a-changing.
Whether you live in New England, the Southwest, or areas in between, Americans can’t escape the coming of winter, even though how winter is defined may differ. Your home faces these same changes in seasons – with a little planning and effort, you can help prepare for…and be protected from…this upcoming winter.
Starting from the outside in, here are 7 simple tasks to keep your home winterized.
- Clean out gutters
A thankless job for anyone, removing leaves, twigs, dirt and mud, even the occasional tennis ball from gutters is a key step before the really tough weather hits. Skipping this chore may lead to backed-up gutters that will freeze, creating ice dams that could cause real damage to the roofing. A sturdy ladder, a partner to spot you (and take turns with) and old clothes and gloves will do the trick on a late fall afternoon.
- Drain and dry garden hoses before bringing them in
Unreel hoses completely and out on a decline will help gravity drain those hoses – even a little water left inside will freeze and potentially ruin its functionality next spring. Rewind and place inside a garage or storage shed for the season.
- Protect outdoor spigots.
Similarly, keeping your outdoor faucets covered and protected may prove beneficial come springtime. Simple, inexpensive, and safe.
- Secure outdoor furniture
Bringing them into the garage or into a shed is ideal; if they must stay outside, waterproof covers keep them dry and (relatively) warm.
- Ensure a functioning furnace
Make sure your home’s heat source is in good working order – nothing worse than it failing when you need it most. Try to get a checkup sooner than later – make an appointment for a service technician to come out and give your furnace a careful look-over. An inefficiently running furnace can hike up your energy bills — even the simple task of replacing old filters with new ones can have a great effect.
Also change your programming – for many systems this entails switching from “cool” to “heat;” others require a day-by-day programming.
- Reverse ceiling fans
A favorite energy-saving tip for winter: switch your ceiling fan to run clockwise (most newer fans have a switch) – it will push the toasty air back down into the room. You may even be able to shave a few degrees off your thermostat setting (and a few dollars off your monthly bill) because of it.
- Get the chimney swept
The idea of warming yourself by a cozy fire on a chilly night is the romantic winter dream. But with wood-burning fireplaces, something called creosote can build up in the chimney over time and even catch on fire, with potentially disastrous consequences. Prevent this by having your chimney cleaned every year.
Just like the cable TV show reminds, Winter Is Coming – make sure your castle is protected with these simple winterizing steps.