Is your home ready for winter?

As we start to think about how we are going to decorate for the holidays, we also need to remember that your home is also ready for some basic fall and winter preventive maintenance. So before we go into full Griswold mode, lets take a look at a few things that will help prevent costly repairs and also enhance safety. 

Let's start with the exterior of the home. Garden hoses left connected to exterior faucets can cause water lines to freeze and break. Simply disconnecting the hose and putting it away for the winter can save you thousands of dollars in repairs and property damage. 

Cleaning leaves and debris from the gutters and downspouts is a great way to help prevent ice damming on the roof and water from entering the foundation. Caution needs to be taken so that you can clean the gutters safely, otherwise there are many handyman companies that offer these services. 

In the interior we can find some simple items that can enhance comfort and safety. In the spring and fall we are told that batteries should be changed in our smoke detectors. This is great advice and should be followed, but it is also a time to check the manufactured date of these items. All manufacturers recommend that smoke detectors be replaced every 5-10 years. If the detectors have surpassed their life expectancy, it is time for them to be replaced. If you currently do not have smoke detectors in your home, this is the time to add them. If you have gas burning appliances or equipment in your home, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed as well. Fire extinguishers should be located on each level of the home. Spending a couple of hundred dollars can save your family's life. 

Drafty windows and doors are not only uncomfortable, but they are also throwing money away. Storm windows need to be closed or installed. Window sealant kits and weather stripping can be added to help cut down on drafts. Many local utility providers offer free energy audits to their customers. It is a great opportunity for a professional assessment of areas of your home that can be improved to help save you money. These providers also offer rebates to help make these projects more affordable. 

Furnace air filters should be changed to help keep your furnace working properly. If your furnace has not been serviced recently, now is a great time to have it looked at by a licensed HVAC contractor. If your furnace flue terminates out the side of your home, make sure that shrubs or bushes are not blocking it from proper ventilation.

Before you enjoy your fireplace for the first time, make sure that it is cleaned and inspected. I recommend that this be done by a professional. 

Have a great a great holiday season, everyone.  May your house be full of family, friends, and laughter.