As the temperatures start to dip, it’s time to think about what maintenance should be completed so you have your house in great shape through the winter.  With a little time and a few calls you can be prepared and comfortable. 

1.  Furnace Inspection:  If you haven’t had your furnace serviced in the last year, you should make an appointment with a HVAC professional to do this.  Getting the furnace checked and cleaned will potentially keep you from a malfunction in freezing temperatures and an emergency visit from a specialist.  Check and replace filters if necessary.

2Have your Fireplace Ready: If you have a gas fireplace, make sure it is in working order before it gets colder.  If you have a traditional wood fireplace, inspect the fireplace damper to make sure it is opening and closing properly.  Put a screen or a cap on the top of the chimney to keep out animals.  If your fireplace hasn’t been cleaned for a while, hire a chimney sweep to remove built up soot and creosote.  Make arrangements to cut or purchase your firewood. 

3.  Check Windows and Doors:  If you have storm windows, install them.  Inspect all windows and doors for gaps or caulking that may need replaced.  Install weather-stripping around doors that are drafty.

4.  Check Gutters and Downspouts and Roof:  Clean gutters and downspouts so that the water can drain easily into them.  Make sure downspouts are draining away from the house.  Consider adding extensions on downspouts if necessary.  Check roof for any loose or missing shingles.  Consider adding additional attic insulation to keep the heat from escaping through the roof. 

5.  Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Check Smoke Detectors:  Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas.  As we spend more time inside in winter, it’s important to take safety precautions.  Start your car outside of the garage and let it warm up outside, not in the garage.  Check and replace smoke detector batteries twice a year. 

6.  Prevent Plumbing Freezes:  Blow out your sprinkler lines.  Drain, disconnect and store all hoses.  Insulate any exposed pipes.  Keep your home set to around 50 to 55 degrees even when you are away. 

7.  Prepare Trees and Landscape:  Talk to a landscape specialist on when is the best time for the vegetation in your yard to be trimmed. 

8.  Have Some Emergency Supplies:  Prepare a box with supplies in case your power/gas/water goes out.  Put candles, an igniter, flashlights, batteries, and first aid kit in the box.  Keep non-perishable foods on hand along with several gallons of water and water bottles. 

With a little planning, you should be ready for the weather to change with little worry!