When cold weather arrives, there are things homeowners can and should do to make sure their homes are ready. From cleaning out the gutters and downspouts to making sure the heater is still working, there are simple things that people can do to make sure their homes are ready for winter.
- Try out your heater. The last thing you want to have happen is to find out that your heater is not working when the weather turns cold. Before the cold weather hits your area, take some time to turn on your heating system and make sure it is working the way it should. That way, you will see if you need any service on the system and take care of that before you really need your heater to work. If you wait and find there is a problem, the heating contractors in your area may not be able to get to you right away.
- Pay attention to the air filters. This is something you need to do throughout the year. Clogged air filters in your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can cause a lot of problems. Your system will not run as efficiently and effectively and can even pose a fire hazard. If you do not know how to change out your air filters, you should ask the HVAC company that you use/
- Clean out your gutters and downspouts. This is very important to preventing the need for costly roof repairs or roof service to be done on your home. Check your gutters to see if any gutter repairs need to be made. Your gutters and downspouts are there to keep water from collecting near your foundation, where it can cause a lot of damage. If you do not like to clean your gutters and downspouts yourself, there are gutter cleaning maintenance programs that you can go to to help with this task. You should take care of this a few times each year. If you find you still have water collecting by your foundation, you may want to add extensions to your downspouts.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Run a test on the smoke detectors. The noise that will be emitted is very loud so you may want to use ear plugs for the test. Look at the light on the smoke alarm. When the light is red, rather than the normal green, it means you need to get a new battery for the unit.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can go in either direction. When they are set to run clockwise, the air is drawn up in your home. When they are set to run counter clockwise, the air is pushed down. The hot air that is produced by your heating system will naturally float up towards the ceiling. By changing the ceiling fans, you will get that air moving back down to keep your home more comfortable without using your heater more. This will lower your utility bills.
- Drain your irrigation system. If you have an irrigation system, you need to make sure you take the time to drain that before the weather gets too old and it has the chance to freeze. If it is allowed to freeze, you can end up with a lot of damage to the system that can be very expensive to repair. If you are not sure how to do this properly, you should call in a professional company to handle it for you. By the same token, you should turn off any outdoor water faucets and make sure your hoses are empty of water as well.
- If you have appliances with gas, empty them. When left for a long time, gas can start to decompose and will leave a film in the carburetor and the tubing. This can cause real problems when you want to use it in the future. If you have gas lawn mowers or generators, you should not leave them full all winter. Many people find an easy way to get the gas out is to run the unit until the tank is empty.
Getting ready for winter is not complicated but does take some time.