Now would be the ideal time to prepare your home for the cold months ahead. Performing a few quick and easy maintenance chores around your home could save you a lot of time and money later.
The Better Business Bureau, along with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), suggest the following steps to prepare your home for winter:
- Have your furnace checked. Make sure the furnace filter is clean. Check the thermostat to be sure it is working properly and the pilot light is functioning.
- Have the heating ducts cleaned on an as-needed basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. However, if you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a professional.
- Check your chimney. If you haven't used your fireplace in a while it's a good idea to have it check for animals, debris and leaves. Consider installing a screen over your chimney opening.
- Clean your gutters and ridge vents. When gutters are clogged, rainwater backs up. If the temperature drops below freezing, the standing water freezes causing the gutters to expand and crack. The ridge vents need to be cleaned in order to allow the house to "breath" correctly. Otherwise, air will stagnate and create an unhealthy environment.
- Make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Check the batteries regularly. If your alarms or detectors emit a light to signal they are working, make sure the light is on.
- Check the caulking around your doors and windows. If the caulk is cracking and peeling away, it allows your home's heat to escape. In addition, insure that the doors and windows shut tightly and no cold air is coming in.
If you don't have the time or the expertise for your winter home maintenance, contact a professional. And, be sure to check them out with the Better Business Bureau.