Though fall has just arrived, cold weather isn’t far behind. Here are a few things you can do now so you aren’t caught off guard this winter.
1. Check windows for leaks and calk or seal them now
Before the cold air arrives, check your windows for any gaps or new cracks which could allow cold air to penetrate, or worse, allow ice to form. Scrape and calk any instances of cracked paint and permanent gaps; insert foam or other removable sealant around openings if windows are old and don’t close properly. For very poorly insulated windows, consider installing removable interior storm windows, or even removable plastic that can be taped and melted into the window with a hair dryer.
And how do you check to see if a window leaks air? The obvious method is to see if light is coming through at any point. For less visible leaks, carefully hold a lighted match or incense stick near the edge and slowly move it around; watch for flickers. Another way is to hold a thin strip of paper near the seams and watch to see if it moves.
2. Check around doors for leaks; use foam pads or stoppers
As with your windows, inspect all doors that lead outside. Have they shifted in the past year? Foam strips that can be secured around the interior of the frame are an inexpensive way to seal gaps. Stoppers that fit on the bottom of doors are another option for sealing the floor area. Cloth stoppers can run along the bottom of doors on the inside to help prevent drafts. Storm doors are an excellent choice, but more costly.
3. Clean fireplace flu, furnace
Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned to prepare for winter fires. Also, have your furnace cleaned to ensure maximum efficiency and the absence of carbon monoxide leaks. Though you can clean your furnace yourself, we recommend using a professional company for peace of mind.
4. Prepare now for power outages
Keep putting of that generator purchase? Now might be the time to consider purchasing one, along with any needed extension cords and candles or flashlights. The next hurricane or blizzard could be around the corner.
5. Shut off then drain any outdoor pipes and spigots
How many of us have forgotten to do just this, realizing in the spring that the pipes are broken? Before the cold moves in, make sure to remove and put away outdoor hoses, and turn off then drain any outdoor pipes. Leave spigots open to allow residual water to flow out.