As winter approaches, keep the story of the ant and the grasshopper in mind: the ant gathers food and stores it for winter, but the grasshopper makes music throughout summer and fall. Then, the grasshopper begs the ant for food when winter hits. Be like the ant and take care of your end-of-summer home maintenance tasks before you regret it.
1. Replace Your Furnace Filter and Clean Your Chimney
Replacing your furnace filter is one project that will maintain your heating system and ready it for winter. You may be surprised when you see how much dirt accumulated on your filter during the summer. The build-up makes your system work harder, which can cause overheating.
Dirty filters also diminish your home’s air quality, which leads to health issues likes sneezing, respiratory problems, and worsening asthma and allergy systems. The new filter will pay for itself as your system runs more efficiently. After you replace your filter, check it monthly.
If you have a chimney, ensure your family’s safety by having it checked and cleaned before winter. Professionals look for soot, creosote, and glaze and use standard, mechanical, or chemical cleaning to prepare clean it. Then, use dry, seasoned firewood and ensure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order with fresh batteries.
2. Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
To prevent costly roof and home repairs, ensure your gutters and downspouts are clean before winter. Clean gutters and downspouts divert water from your house and protect it and your foundation from pooling water and ice dams. When gutters are full of leaves and debris, ice expands and damages fascia or leads to a cracked foundation.
While you can clean your gutters and downspouts yourself, you may want to hire professionals to tackle the job because it involves hauling heavy ladders and climbing on your roof. The cost of hiring professionals to clear your gutters is much lower than the cost of repairing a roof, fascia, or foundation.
3. Disconnect Garden Hoses
Many homeowners often overlook disconnecting garden hoses as they ready their homes for winter. It’s important to disconnect your garden hose before the ground freezes. Otherwise, the water inside the hose will freeze and crack its lining. Ice in control nozzles puts pressure on the pipes connecting to your hose from your home, and the pressure increases the risk of cracked or burst pipes.
To protect your home’s plumbing system, disconnect your garden hose and drain it. Then, drain your outdoor faucet and turn off the shut-off valve to your outdoor faucet. Finally, place an insulated faucet jacket on your outdoor faucets.
4. Caulk or Apply Weather Stripping Around Drafty Areas
Drafts waste as much as 5-30% of your home’s energy during winter. Drafty windows and doors mean that your heated air escapes and cold outside air enters your home. These drafts also give your thermostat a false reading and cause your heating system to work overtime.
Window caulking is a good way to defend against drafts. Inspect the existing caulking around your windows. If you see small cracks, add a new layer of caulk or add rope caulk and mold into the cracks. If you see large gaps or cracks in the caulk, remove it and replace it. Another way to prevent drafts around windows is to use insulating window treatments such as heavy draperies, layered curtains, honeycomb shades, or Roman shades in your home.
Also, prevent drafts from coming in around your entryway doors. First, tighten loose hinges. If you still feel a cold draft around the perimeter of closed doors, check the weather stripping. If it is worn, cracked, or bent, replace it with new vinyl or foam. You can find weatherstripping kits at your local hardware store or home center. Last, add a door sweep to the bottom of your door to prevent drafts from underneath.
Putting time, effort, and money into end-of-summer home maintenance tasks will save you plenty of headaches and higher repair bills. Replace your furnace filter and clean your chimney, clean gutters and downspouts, disconnect garden hoses, and caulk or apply weather stripping around doors and windows to winterize your home.
Image via Pixabay by Pexels
About the Author:
Paul Denikin got into DIY home repair projects after his daughter was born with special needs. His initial efforts were all motivated by the desire to make his home more accessible for her. He learned everything he knows through trial and error and many helpful Youtube videos. He created DadKnowsDIY.com to share some of the great resources he’s come across and to offer home improvement project how-tos and other accessibility information.
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