Turn Up The Heat!
It is a good idea to call out a technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump to make sure the system is clean and working properly. It could cost between $80 to $100 but that sure beats what it could cost if it breaks down and not to mention the loss of heat in the cold weather. The inspection would also measure the carbon-monoxide leakage.
Change the Rotation!
During the colder months, you should switch the rotation on your ceiling fans if they have the option. This helps push hot air down from up near the ceiling and may even allow you to turn your thermostat down a touch.
Prevent Ice Dams!
You need to watch for excess icicles and maybe even water dams. These can cause meltwater to back up into your home. Find a home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor who can identify and fix the air leaks and inadequate insulation in your attic. These can lead to ice dams. An extra bonus is that if you have the work done before Decmeber 31, 2014, you can claim the federal energy-efficiency tax credit for 10% of the cost (excluding installation), up to $500. Also check your state and.or utility because they may also offer a rebate.
Check the Roof!
Be sure to check your roof for any damaged or missing shingles that could lead to leaking during winter storms. These should be repaired before winter hits.
If the gaps between your windows, siding, or door frames are bigger than a nickel's width, you need to reapply exterior caulk. The best caulk for exterior use is silicone because it won't shrink and it can easily withstand the elements. Adding weatherstripping around your doors also helps a lot.
Clear Out Those Gutters!
Clearing out your gutters helps prevent water backing up onto the house and damaging your roofing, wood trim, and siding. It can also cause leaks and ice dams. While you're up there check for damaged gutters and fascia boards.
Extend the Downspouts!
Adding extensions to your downspouts so that water drains at least 3 to 4 feet away from the house helps protect the foundation.
Turn Off Faucets!
Turning off exterior faucets helps to prevent pipes from bursting from water freezing in the winter cold. If you don't have frost-proof faucets, turn off the water from inside your home.
You need to drain your lawn sprinkler systems of leftover water. However, you should call in a professional for this task. They may charge anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the size. This will prevent frozen pipes and leaking.
But call in a professional to do the job. Your sprinkler service will charge $50 to $150, depending on the size of the system.
Mulch Those Leaves!Take the bag off of your mower and switch the blade to a mulching blade to mulch the leaves down. The leaves will fall between the grass blades and nourish the lawn throughout winter. It may take a few passes to get the leaves to the size they need to be.
Stow the Mower!
As the mower sits through the winter, fuel remaining in its engine will decompose, "varnishing" the carburetor and causing difficulty when you try to start the engine in the spring. John Deere offers these preventive steps: If you've added stabilizer to your fuel to keep it fresh longer, then fill the gas tank to the top with more stabilized fuel and run the engine briefly to allow it to circulate. If not, wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel. Check your mower's manual for other cold-weather storage steps.
Don't Prune Yet!
Horticulturists advise to not prune until late-winter because at that point they will have been dormant awhile, but it will still be before the spring blooms start.
Test the Sump Pump!
You should be doing this every few months, but especially after long dry months or before rainy ones. Pour water into it to see if the pump turns on.
Call the Chimney Sweep!
Before firing up the ole fireplace, be sure to give it a good cleaning to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide from creeping into the home. Be sure to get a sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Restock the Winter Essentials!
Now is a great time to start stocking up on salt or ice melt, not when the ground is covered in ice.
Check Up on Your Insurance Coverage!
Call your insurance agent today to make sure your home is covered!
Don't wait until the ground is covered in snow! Thanks to Kiplinger for the information!
Conner Insurance Agency