We had some phenomenal November weather this past week (my kids even wore shorts to school one day), but I’m not in denial. I know snow is on the way, and Ol’ Man Winter will soon be tap, tap, tapping at the windowpanes.
The forecasted plunge in temperature motivated my husband to buy a new furnace filter, because when you live in Minnesota, you do not want to run the risk of being without heat once the cold season moves in.
Checking your furnace—and changing the filter—is one way to winterize your home. Here are some other suggestions:
- Shut off the water source to the faucet outside your home so the water doesn’t freeze in your pipes. Let any remaining water drain. (You don’t want any surprises when you hook up the hose in the spring.)
- Clean your home’s gutters. If you don’t clean out your gutters, you run the risk of water building up during cold weather. Ice damming can easily ruin a roof.
- According to U.S. News & World Report, it’s also important to seal cracks in windows, doors, and ducts. “Install your storm windows or cover your panes in thin plastic insulation material available at major home improvement centers. Next, inspect ventilation ducts for cracks and separations, as vast amounts of heating can escape through poorly fitted ductwork.” Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the house. According to Excel Energy, “Winterizing your home by weatherstripping doors and sealing windows and gaps along a home’s foundation can save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs.”
- If you have a fireplace, you can get it ready by cleaning the chimney (scoop out the leftover ash and dump the ash in a fireproof container), capping the top to keep out rodents and birds, stocking up on firewood, and inspecting the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
- Keep unwanted critters out of your garage, attic, and basement by checking for open gaps in doors and windows. Make sure all exterior vents are covered by screens.
- Get your carpets professionally cleaned. Think of all the sand and surface debris you and your family have tracked in during the summer and fall. Now is a great time for a deep cleaning.
- Put away outdoor furniture, like outdoor tables and chairs, grills, and kids’ toys. Do a quick wipe down of patio furniture and toys to remove debris, and make sure everything is dry before storing it for the winter. • Fire up the grill one last time and let it burn for 10 minutes to get rid of food residue on the grill rack, turn off the flame, then scrub the rack with a wire brush or ball of aluminum foil. Remove the grease tray and wash it in soapy water. According to Tips for Fall Storage, “If the grill will be stored inside during the winter, remove the propane tank before storing. Cover the disconnected propane tank with a trash bag and store separately in a dry location. If the grill will remain outside over winter, turn off the propane tank and place a cover over the grill and propane tank.”
By Chrissy Sarinske