The unofficial start date of winter is the day after Thanksgiving. Usually on Black Friday the weather seems to take a turn for the worse, the heat kicks on and the that realization winter has arrived settles in. As a homeowner it is important to take steps to prepare for the winter before it arrives. Not only does basic maintenance and prevention increase the efficiency of your property, but it can also save you money. Spending a little money on maintenance today, even when you don’t think you need it, will end up saving you tenfold down the road. Here are four essential actions to protect your property as winter approaches.
Service the furnace:It is not a stretch to say that for the next four months your furnace is the most important part of your house. Anyone that has ever woken up to a ten-degree day can tell you just how brutal winter can be. If your furnace isn’t running right you will end up paying more to heat your property, or worse. Seasonal maintenance is one of those things that sometimes seems like a waste of money. Your furnace was running fine last year so why would it be any different this year? While this may be true, you have no idea of the wear and tear it goes through every year. Your furnace is too important not to have it cleaned and the filter changed before winter hits.
Clean gutters:There is a stretch typically around the end of January where it is almost too cold to go to your car. The last thing you want to do is trudge through the snow and deal with a frozen roof. Now is the time to remove any leaves from the gutter to reduce the chance of this happening. Gutters filled with excessive leaves give the snow on the roof nowhere to melt. Eventually, the gutters become frozen which opens the door for multiple problems. If the problem is bad enough it can cause roof damage and obviously lead to gutters falling off the house. It is much easier dealing with this now before there is six inches of snow on the ground.
Chimney cleaned:Most homeowners enjoy sitting by a fire on a winter night. As great as this can be, it can be a disaster if your chimney isn’t clean. Excessive soot and creosote that hasn’t been removed from the chimney for years can damage the chimney, as well as fuel a chimney fire. Every fire you light leaves coot and creosote in your chimney. If you lit a dozen fires last year, there can be quite a mess in the flue and top of the chimney. Cleaning your chimney and your flue is probably less expensive than you think; and may be the best money you spend on your property.
Exterior items/misc:Now is a good time to walk around your property and tidy up any loose ends before the start of winter. Any tree limbs hanging over the roof are just an accident waiting to happen. Once the snow and ice get to them, it can be just a matter of time before they come crashing down. Since you won’t be turning the air back on until the summer, you should also cover your HVAC so nothing gets in there. You may also want to take inventory of your snow blower, shovel or even salt. When a storm is a few days away it can be a madhouse trying to get these items from the store.
The minor steps you take now can make your life much easier when the heart of winter hits. Winter is coming whether we like it or not, the only thing we can do is prepare for it.