1) Furnace Inspection
- Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
- Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
- Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
- your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
- Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
2) Get the Fireplace Ready
- Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
- If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
- Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
- Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
- Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.
3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows
- Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
- Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
- Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
- If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts
- If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
- Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
- Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
- Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.
- Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.
· 5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment
o Drain gas from lawnmowers.
o Service or tune-up snow blowers.
o Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
o Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
o Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand.
6) Check Foundations
o Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
o Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
o Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
o Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
o Secure crawlspace entrances.
7) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
o Some cities require a smoke detector in every room.
o Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
o Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
o Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
o Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.
· 8) Prevent Plumbing Freezes
o Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
o Drain all garden hoses.
o Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
o Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
o If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.
9) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces
o Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
o Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
o Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
o Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
o Don’t automatically remove dead vegetation from gardens as some provide attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard.
o Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
10) Prepare an Emergency Kit
o Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage.
o Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book.
o Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
o Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
Keep warm! And Remember we are always here to answer any of your Real Estate questions!