With fall well underway, it’s a good idea to get your home prepared for winter so that you can relax and enjoy the season when Jack Frost shows up. There are two main ways that you can get things well in hand to enjoy the cooler months: by being prepared for the weather to come and by putting the previous seasons behind you until spring.
With the weather getting colder you should focus on making sure that your home is prepared to keep you comfortable all winter long. Some basic ways that you can do this are:
- Stop drafts: check your home for drafty areas using a candle or a stick of incense to show you where the problem areas are. Usually these will be around windows and doors, but be sure to check around electrical outlets, vents, and chimneys. Most draft solutions require new weather stripping or caulking.
- Check or change air filters: if your home has some kind of fan to move warm air around, chances are it needs its filters cleaned at least once a year. Change or wash filters as per manufacturers’ directions.
- Sensors and alarms: with the colder months, most of us seal up our homes pretty tight, making the danger of issues like carbon monoxide more immediate. Make sure that you have a CO2 sensor installed in your home, and that it has new batteries if it’s not a wired-in model. Change your smoke alarm batteries while you’re at it.
- Storm doors and/or windows: while not a required item, storm doors and windows can help you keep the elements out of your house where they belong.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat: programmable thermostats are one of the single best investments that you can make to help keep your heating costs down this winter. Instead of having to rely on remembering to turn the heat down when you go to bed (and then waking up to a frosty house), you can just set the thermostat to cool the house once you’ve gone to bed (or shortly before) and then warm it up just before you get up. This can save you lots of money on your heating bills with little to no discomfort for yourself.
Some other areas of improvement that might not seem so obvious are:
- Pack away summer: Put all of your warm weather items away to keep them from getting damaged and to keep them out of the way. Unless you’re going on a trip to somewhere with warm temperatures this winter, pack your summer clothes away in totes or other storage containers to keep them protected until next year. Also put your summer sporting gear out of the way as well.
- Bring out seasonal items: When you’re putting away your summer things, take a bit of time to move your winter items to a more accessible spot. It might take a bit more time to get things put away, but when you start decorating for the holidays or it snows for the first time of the season, you’ll be happy that things are easy to find.
- Clean up for the holidays: With the increase in guests over the holidays, now is a great time to pre-clean your home so that closer to the holiday season you don’t have to do as much. If you do a lot of holiday cooking, take some time to clean out your oven to avoid nasty flare ups. If your spare room is overrun with stuff, clean it up and make it ready for when you’ll have overnight guests.
Once you've got your home ready for the cold of winter, make sure that you are adequately prepared with snow shovels, ice scraper for your car, and any salt or sand products that you might need for your driveway or sidewalk. Once the snow starts flying, sometimes it's too late to buy items like that.