Now that the seasons have turned and we’ve also turned back the clocks, it’s time to winterize your home as we brace for colder weather ahead. Preparing now will help you avoid costly repairs and maintain your home’s value. Here are 8 ways to get your abode winter-ready.
1. Change your smoke detector batteries. Safety experts recommend changing your smoke detector batteries once a year, and you might also want to consider installing smoke detectors with batteries that are good for 10 years, and then replace the detector every 10 years.
2. Clean your gutters. Especially in areas with a lot of trees, make sure your gutters are clean and clear to allow water to flow into downspouts and away from your home’s foundation. If leaves build up in your gutters, they can potentially cause problems, including leaking roofs and water damage inside and outside of your home. Clogged gutters also make nice homes for rodents and other pests.
3. Check your fireplace and chimney. If you have a fireplace, safety experts recommend having it cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis. Before you spend your nights in front of a cozy, warm fire, make sure you don’t have to worry about a potential fire hazard. Call a reputable chimney sweep to have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned.
4. Change your furnace filter. A clean air filter helps your unit run efficiently and improves your air quality. During the winter heating season, check the filter each month and change when dirty.
5. Switch fans to run in reverse. Remember that warm air rises, so don’t forget about using your ceiling fan to bring that warm air back down. Flip the switch so that your fan turns in a clockwise direction and run it at low speed.
6. Remove and store window air conditioning units. Taking out your window A/C unit will not only help keep the unit in good operating condition, but by being able to fully close your window, you will keep the warm, heated air inside and the cold winter air outside.
7. Landscape checkup. Check your trees and remove any dead limbs to prevent branches that could fall and potentially damage roofs, porches, decks, cars, etc.
8. Drain outdoor hose spigots. We may not be thinking about ice and freezing pipes yet, but as you finish up your garden chores, remember to detach garden hoses, drain the pipe and close the shut-off valve.
Anslie Stokes is a McEnearney Associates top-producing Washington, D.C. real estate agent. Visit her website at www.stokesrealtor.com or contact her at 202-270-1081;[email protected]