Top 10 Home Repairs to Make Before Winter [SLIDESHOW]
With all the barbecues, baseball games and road trips that go on during the summer months, home maintenance projects may not seem very appealing. But, before Old Man Winter bears down on your area, there are a few projects you should consider completing.
Here is a list of things you might want to take care of before the mercury starts to fall.
Check Heating System
Before it's time to turn on the heat, you should have your home's heating system checked out and serviced, if necessary. Having your furnace examined and fixed, during the air-conditioning months may be easier than it would be in the winter, as the demand will likely be lower then. Putting it off until winter could mean a longer response time.
Inspect Your Roof
Summer storms may have affected your roof. And since winters can also be rough, it's important to have any small repairs completed to prevent larger, more expensive problems from developing. Snow, ice and heavy rain can turn a seemingly small issue into a major headache -- so why not get that roof fixed before the weather turns bad?
Fill Gaps Around Windows and Doors
Any gaps around windows and doors could allow heated air to escape, requiring homeowners to run their heating systems more to make their homes comfortable. By filling in gaps with silicone caulking or weather-stripping, you can save money on your monthly utility bills and cut down any drafts.
Test the Sump Pump
Testing your sump pump regularly can help prevent a backup, and it may be even more important to do so before winter arrives. This is especially crucial if your area experienced a dry summer. Homeowners willing to read their sump pump owner's manual can perform regular testing and basic maintenance. The booklet should also include instructions about seeking assistance for major repairs.
Inspect the Chimney and Fireplace
There's nothing cozier on a cold winter's night than cuddling by the fireplace. To help reduce the possibility of fire danger disrupting your peaceful evening by the fire, it's important to get your chimneys, vents and fireplace cleaned before you light a fire. Other items in your home that burn coal, oil, wood or gas should also be cleaned before it's time to use them.
Make Quick Exterior Fixes
The cooler weather and falling leaves of autumn can cause drafts and clogged gutters, so it's a good time to do some exterior maintenance. Check for cracks in your home where the warm air can leak out. Also, you should clean the gutters and rake the yard, as piles of leaves could later cause ice dams. It also may be a good idea to fill cracks in the driveway or walkways before the cold sets in.
Store Outdoor Furniture
Since you probably won't be lounging in the sun in the winter (unless you're one of those lucky people who live in warm states), fall is the perfect time to clean up outdoor furniture and store it away safely until spring. Other items, like grills and toys, should be removed from the yard and stored away, so they aren't damaged.
Switch Ceiling Fan Direction
One thing many people don't know is the effect reversing your ceiling fan has on your home's ability to keep your house warm. Running a fan clockwise via a reverse switch will allow it to push down the warm air that rises toward the ceiling. Doing so could allow you to turn down the thermostat while staying toasty warm.
Turn Off Outside Faucets
To keep pipes from freezing when it's cold, turn off exterior faucets and disconnect hoses. By shutting off the valve or investing in frost-proof faucets, you can help to prevent water remaining in the pipes from freezing and expanding, which could cause the pipes to burst.
Buy Supplies and Tools Early
Purchasing winter supplies early can ensure stores don't run out, while it may also provide you with a deal on all the necessities. Fall is a good time to check out the stuff you already have and replace damaged snow shovels or other items. Don't forget to pick up ice melt and salt, as these tend to go quickly when storms approach.