The following article appeared in Mount Hebron Orchard Halloween Special Edition newsletter.  With colder days ahead, take time to see if you are ready for winter.

Prepping Your Home for the Winter Months Ahead…

By Eric Ulanowicz

Fall is a great time to start thinking about your home maintenance as well as getting it ready for the colder weather ahead.

HVAC system:  Replace your filters based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, and consider having it serviced by a reputable HVAC contractor to ensure it’s operating at peak efficiency.  Many companies offer deals in the fall and spring for system inspections.

If your home’s exterior windows have wood trim, inspect these areas for cracks or chipped paint and caulk/repaint if needed.  Finding these issues early will reduce drafts, and prevent wood rot and more expensive repairs later if neglected.  Also check for drafts around doors and replace the weatherstripping if needed.

Gutters:  Once all the leaves have fallen, it’s a good time to clean gutters if you don’t have a leaf protection gutter system.  If your gutters back up the resulting overflow can lead to foundation deterioration, basement water infiltration, or settling of concrete porches and walkways.

Fireplaces:  If these were used last year and haven’t been cleaned, fall is a great time to have this done to ensure they are both safe to use all winter, and identify any potential maintenance problems.  Also check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to verify they are working properly.

Outside Faucets:  Before the first freeze (usually around Halloween), turn off the inside faucet supply valves, drain all exterior water hoses, and open the exterior spigot valves to let water drain out of the line to prevent damage.  Insulating faucet covers are an inexpensive way to provide additional freeze protection to vulnerable pipes.  If you have a pressure washer or a sprinkler system don’t forget to drain and winterize these too to prevent freeze damage.