As the temperatures start to drop and the winter approaches, your home must be attended to in preparation. Don’t wait until the first freeze hits start preparing your home for cold weather now. Here are a few actions you can take now so that everything is running smoothly when the first cold spell hits.
Check Your Heating System
Make sure your heating system is still operational and in working order. If need be contact a professional to have a system inspection. If you have radiators they may need to be bled or if you have a boiler you will need to make sure it is not leaking. Clean and vacuum out all your vents and change filters before it gets too cold. Make sure the furniture that you may have moved during the warmer months is the proper distance away from the furnace, vents, or radiators for optimal heating and safety. This will allow you some time before the days become too chilly to make sure everything is still functioning.
Check Your Boiler
Do you have a boiler or use a gas furnace? You will want to make sure the gas is turned on and the pilot light is lit prior to use. The boiler/furnace manual or the side of the boiler itself will have instructions on how to accomplish this. If not you can always find how-to videos on Youtube that will show you how to properly light a pilot light. Additionally, it could be worthwhile to have a Gas Safety registered engineer service your boiler. In the end, this will give you peace of mind because carbon monoxide leaks can happen at any time of the year.
Check Your Doors and Windows
Check your windows for any cracks or ill-fitting sashes. If need be recaulk the sills to ensure that no air is leaking. You may want to switch out your summer curtains for some heavier winter curtains to help keep the heat in and the cold out. Check your doors and replace any weather stripping to prevent draughts and cold air from entering your home.
Clean Your Gutters and Check Your Roof
Slates, tiles, and shingles can break at any time which is why it is important to have a professional roofer evaluate your roof. Summer storm damage can lead to roof damage and fall leaves can lead to drainage issues.
As the weather gets colder the leaves start to pile up on the roof and in the gutters causing water to pool and fail to drain away from your roof. This water can freeze resulting in roof damage that can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Instead, you can hire a gutter cleaner or you can do it yourself with a ladder and a little effort. Better yet you can having self-cleaning gutters installed to save yourself headaches in the future.
Find the Stopcock/Shut off-valve
Knowing where your emergency water shut-off valve or stopcock is can help you prevent further damage in case of a burst pipe. You can also wrap your pipes in insulation or heating tap to help prevent them from freezing in cold weather.
Your radiators could become hot at the bottom and cool at the top after a few months of inactivity. This usually indicates that the radiator needs to be bled. As winter approaches, inspect and bleed your radiators to make sure you’re getting the most heating (and money) out of them.
Prepare Your Yard and Garden
An excellent tip is to make sure your garden is open, tidy, and prepared for winter. Protect anything that could be blown away by the wind, such as wheeled bins, greenhouses, and plant pots. Keeping up with any leaves in your garden is also a smart idea to prevent an accumulation of them throughout the fall.
Make sure all your outdoor furniture is properly secured away and that any water feature you may have is weatherized for winter. This will prevent any damage from happening during the cold months that will result in you needing to purchase new outdoor items next spring.
Use a Dehumidifier
Avoid dampness in the cooler months by properly venting your dryer and using a dehumidifier. Make sure your bathroom and kitchen extractor fans are working properly so that dampness and mold do not build up during the winter months when your house’s doors and windows are closed tight.