It’s that time of year when everyone transitions from bonfires and light jackets to indoor fireplaces and winter coats. As the cold arrives, there are some things you should think about if you’re in a new home or rental. Here are six tips to keep your space in great shape through the season.
1. Cut Back Tree Branches
If you have branches hanging over your roof, gutter or car, now is the time to cut them back. Branches are easier and cost less to remove when they’re bare, so it’s good to eliminate them before the weather gets bad or leaves start regrowing. The same goes for pruning any trees the season renders dormant.
Heavy snow and cold weather can also make these branches vulnerable, causing them to break and wreak havoc on your or your neighbor’s property. For your safety and sanity, consult with a licensed contractor about removing them from your troublesome trees before snow and ice hits.
2. Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
During warm weather, your ceiling fan should run counterclockwise so the downdraft allows cool air to reach you. In the winter, you’ll want the opposite effect.
Your fan should have a switch above the blade or on its remote that allows you to reverse its rotation. This will create an updraft while it runs, making your room feel warmer and saving you on heating costs. The process is simple, so you can always change the rotation back if you get a warm weather day — just be sure the fan is off whenever you make the change.
3. Clean Your Gutters
At this point, your gutters likely hold some leaves and debris from the fall, so you want to get that cleaned out before the winter snow arrives. You can clean them yourself depending on the type of gutters you have and how far off the ground they are.
However, you can also hire a professional if the job is unsafe for you to do on your own. Once your gutters are clear, they’ll more efficiently drain water from snow and ice, making the moisture less likely to affect your house.
4. Get Your Chimney Inspected
If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, it’s a good idea to inspect it before starting it up for the season. Having your chimney cleaned and inspected can ensure it’s suitable for you to burn wood without risking damage to your home. It could require repairs that you can’t see from the outside, so it’s essential to have a professional check it regularly.
5. Remove Gasoline from Yard Equipment
Winter means it’s time to put the lawn equipment into storage, but if you have gas tools, there’s one more step to take. Letting gasoline sit in your lawnmower, trimmer or other devices during the winter is a safety risk. The old fuel could pose a serious fire hazard and would likely be ineffective in the spring anyway. Never dump your gasoline down a drain, but drop it off at your local hazardous waste disposal program.
6. Add Weatherstripping
If you feel a draft coming from any doors or windows, it means it’s not correctly sealed and can increase heating costs. A simple way to eliminate cold air coming into your house is by adding weatherstripping. The strips serve as a barrier between doors and windows and their frame, eliminating any cracks or crevices. It’s also a great time to add caulking to any areas that need it.
Preparing Your Home for Winter
As winter approaches, preparing your place will keep it in good shape through the ice, snow and cold. Readying your space for the upcoming season can ensure a smooth transition when warm weather returns.
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