It’s October, a time when everything growing begins to slow down and prepare for the coming winter. Your children are back in school, the spring and summer flowers have stopped blooming and the trees are changing colors and will soon be losing their leaves. While you are outside enjoying these warm fall days, marveling at the fall colors, cleaning out your gardens, and decorating your home for Halloween, there are some things you should be thinking about and looking at to prepare for the coming cold weather – and it is just around the corner.
Check around your windows and doors for loose or broken panes of glass and replace or repair as necessary.
Take a good look at the the caulking around your windows and exterior doors, make sure it is intact and in good condition. If not, repair or replace it.
Make sure the weather stripping around all exterior doors forms a complete seal. Repair or replace it if it looks worn or doesn’t completely seal. You’ll want the cold air to stay outside and warm inside.
Check your basement or crawlspace walls. Are there any holes around heating/air conditioning or dryer vents? How about where water lines, gas lines, electrical and cable lines penetrate the exterior walls? If you find any holes, seal them up. Foam sealants are perfect for this job. If the hole is large, pack it first with fiberglass insulation. This will also help to keep unwanted critters out of your home.
Check for gaps between the foundation wall and sill plate of the exterior walls and seal them to help keep down cold drafts. Again, foam sealants are great for this job.
Check the bottoms of your garage doors. If the seals are worn or missing, replace them to help keep out cold air.
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and other debris and flow freely.
Check where your floor meets exterior walls. If you find a crack, seal it to help stop drafts.
Check your attic access door. If it doesn’t seal completely, now is the time to make sure it does. Do the same with doors leading to other unheated areas like an attached garage.
If you have a fireplace and you don’t plan to use it, plug the flue with an inflatable or rigid foam plug to help keep cold air from penetrating your living space. If you do plan to use your fireplace, first and foremost, clean out the chimney. If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone to do it. Chimney fires are more common than you think and can be very costly. Make sure the fireplace damper closes tightly when a fire isn’t burning to help keep out cold air.
Have your furnace tuned up to make sure it’s running at top efficiency and that carbon monoxide isn’t a threat to you and your family. Change the filter often. If you have forced air heating, consider having the ductwork professionally cleaned to help keep dust down and allow the warmed air to move more freely.
Check your windows to make sure the window locks capture and close the windows tightly. If you can feel a draft, consider changing the older worn locks for new ones.
The upcoming months will be busy with holiday preparations, school events and visits from and to family and friends. Why not take some time now to make sure your home is warm and cozy when winter finally arrives?