4 winter prep essentials you shouldn’t skip
Get to know which parts of your home deserve attention before winter weather leaves you in the cold.
As you're digging out those sweaters and coats to prepare for winter, don't forget that you also should get your home ready for colder weather.
Taking the time to complete a few simple tasks can save you money and make your home a more comfortable place this winter.
We've asked home-maintenance professionals which winter-preparation tasks are the most essential and why. Here are the four must-do things to complete before winter hits, as well as additional tasks you should do.
1. Gutters and roof
Must do: Clear debris from your gutters or have a professional do it. Make sure your downspouts are directing water at least 3 feet away from your home's foundation, says David Lupberger, home-improvement expert for ServiceMagic and past president of the Master Builder Group Inc., a design/build remodeling company. (ServiceMagic is an MSN Real Estate partner.)
Also make sure that your gutters and downspouts are securely fastened to your house and that there is no blockage in the downspout. If you're cleaning your gutters yourself, you can check for downspout blockages using your water hose. Insert the hose at the top of the downspout and turn on the water; have someone see if the water is running out the bottom. If there is a blockage, you can try to loosen it by packing rags around the hose at the top of the spout to seal it off, then running the hose at full blast. If that doesn't work, try a plumbing snake.
Article continues below
Why are gutters and downspouts important? Winter weather typically means more rain or snow, which can seriously damage your home's foundation. Gutters and downspouts are there to take the water that runs off your roof and get it away from your home. Keeping them working properly will keep your foundation dry and stable and save you a lot of money and hassle.
Should do: Check your roof for peeling tiles and any potential roofing issues. If you really want to be diligent, inspect your attic for mold, water stains and other signs of moisture.
- MSN Lifestyle: 10 decorating trends for fall
"The last thing you want to do is get into winter with a potential leak," Lupberger says.
Must do: If you do nothing else, replace the filter, Lupberger says.
Should do: Have a professional perform an annual furnace check. Lupberger says a good furnace pro will vacuum the unit, lubricate the parts, replace your filter and check the thermostat.
"Many homeowners change their filters regularly, and that helps," says Donald Prather of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, which deals with heating and cooling. But he says most homeowners don't have the tools or expertise to perform the required maintenance.
"Furnaces are like cars," he says. "They are mechanical, and they need regular maintenance to operate efficiently and safely."
He recommends inspections of the furnace and air-conditioning unit twice a year: at the start of the heating season and at the start of the cooling season.
Lupberger urges homeowners to get that furnace checked soon.
"Don't wait for a potential furnace problem," he says. "If it gets to be 10 degrees and your furnace doesn't work, you and 300 other people are calling."
Lupberger also recommends that homeowners who have an older thermostat upgrade to a setback thermostat so they can program when the furnace runs and save money on heating.
Buy some cans of Sterno - avail at Walmart-sams-Roses-any rest. supply store. Keep a few in your car and home. About $.50-75 cents per can. You can heat water, soup, use for heat - etc.
Keep an extra propane tank on hand, too - can always cook on a grill without power. Always be careful if using fuels for heat - Carbon Mon. can be fatal. If you have propane or natural gas heat - or was hotwater heater heater - you should have a cab. mom. detector. About $20 most home improvement stores. To the lady who rents who smells gas leak - check with city codes in your town - they might come inspect "at random" and make the landlord bring things up to code, incl, a detector.
Have a fire extinguihser on hand. Have a safe winter everyone.
While you are technically correct; if he is not planning to climb onto the roof from the stepladder, this is not much of a safety violation. If he needs a taller ladder; he can always place this one on the tailgate of his pick-up truck:)
Many portable heaters are fueled by propane (LPG) or kerosene, rather than electricity. I use a 99% efficient propane fireplace for backup heat when my power is out.
I purchased gas/carbon monoxide alarms. The work with either natural gas or propane.
You could also call your local fire department and ask if they have the equip to find gas leak.
ME? I'd get out until the issue of whether there is a leak was resolved. If I liked the apartment I'd see if the issues could be resolved.
Well I live in a place where there is no snow, as a result I don't have to deal with some of these issues. However I found the section of "downspouts are directing water at least 3 feet away from your home's foundation" interesting, since I learned that not doing this can damage the foundation of your home.