I've had my furnace serviced in time for winter, but what other things should I consider doing before the snow and the ice come?
- Clean your gutters
- Make sure your chimney is clean
- Install storm windows
- Empty the gas from your mower
- Reverse ceiling fans
Take the snowblower out of storage. Put a little bit of gas in and make sure that it starts.
No sense in trying to diagnose a small engine problem in the freezing cold (if you can help it).
Give your car a once over:
Check fluid levels (oil, coolant, brake, steering, transmission)
Make sure you top up the washer fluid
Check the tires.
- Check tire pressure, and adjust as necessary
- Check the treads. If you insert a penny in the tread, and can see the top of Lincoln's head, then you are due for new tires.
- Double check your spare is in good shape, and is properly inflated
Check the battery. If you have any indications that the battery is weak, it will only get worse when the cold hits. If your battery is older than about 5 years, you likely need a replacement.
Pack a winter emergency kit for the trunk
- Blanket/boots/gloves/hand warmer packs
- Collapsible shovel
- Salt/Sand/Kitty litter
- Snowbrush/Ice scraper
Drain all your garden hoses and insulate external faucets with these.
Every homeowner will have subtle differences. My list runs like this...
- Clean gutters.
- Ensure no leaks in the gutters. (A couple of the joints in our gutters need to be checked on a yearly basis.)
- Pull the hoses from the hose bibs, shut the valve in the basement. Then blow out the water from the lines to ensure no freeze-ups.
- Check the outside of the house, the siding, looking for any spots that need caulking, repair, etc.
- Place mousetraps in the rafters of the garage. (I hate to do it, but this is when rodents are looking to move into someplace warm.)
- On the last mowing, pull a plug aerator around the lawn, then spread (homemade) compost around those areas which need it. Ground up leaves from this year will serve as a starter for the next batch of compost.
- Remove the mower deck from the tractor. Lubricate all points on the tractor. Sharpen the blades as necessary, and store the deck in a spot out of the way.
- Put snow-blade on the tractor.
- Store away deck/outdoor furniture.
- Put a container of kitty-litter in the trunk of the car, as well as an ice scraper. Check the wiper blades, replace as needed.
Blow out your sprinkler (irrigation) lines so the water does not freeze and break the line or sprinkler heads.
If you have a fireplace - get the chimney swept/inspected.
Cover your air conditioning condenser to prevent snow/ice buildup.
Before covering, be sure to clean off the coil, and inspect for any damage.
- Open cold air returns
- Prep humidifier: Open intake, turn on water, set thermostat
- Change furnace filter
- Test furnace
- Shut off A/C circuit breaker
- If you have baseboard heaters, turn on any circuit breakers, test heaters
- Do you have a generator? Does it start? Do you have a plan to connect it if needed?
- Clean out my garage so I can get my cars in
- Lubricate garage door
- Clean all gutters & check downspouts
- Clear any debris around foundation
Around the house
- Check & replace weather stripping
- Lubricate door hinges & locks (helps prevent them from icing up)
- Stock up on road salt or sand
- Make sure I have plenty of anti-freeze (I can go through a bottle a week sometimes!)
- Fill and run snow blower
- Check all my shovels - any need replacement?
- If you dont have storm windows, at least take out the screens.
- Take the battery out of your lawnmower.
- If you have a septic system with multiple leech fields, rotate them (I do this twice a year).
- Bring your pressure washer inside where it won't freeze or put anti-freeze in it. It is impossible to get all of the water out of the pump and freezing will crack it.
- If you live in an area with a lot of snow, mark the edges of your sidewalk and driveway with tall thin reflective markers.
Give your radiator space. When it turns on, it may melt things you set near or on top of it during the warmer months while it was off.