– Set up a furnace check-up well before the cold weather starts, not only will it prevent the breakdown blues in the dead of winter, but it’s much easier to get an appointment with your local furnace repairman before he gets busy.
– Generally the filters should be checked every month and every three months for the high-efficiency models.You can save as much as five per cent on heating costs by ensuring your furnace is running as it should.
– If you’re considering changing your furnace, now is a good time to upgrade to a high-efficiency version.
– If you have a gas fireplace, have this cleaned during your furnace inspection.
Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
– Test and replace batteries where necessary.
Doors & Windows
– Make sure they close properly and check for cool air seeping through. You can try lighting an incense stick and placing it near the opening, the smoke trail will indicate whether you have a draft.
– Consider replacing any windows that are beyond repair.
– Hang storm windows or insulate interior windows with heavy drapes or plastic.
– Examine the rubber thresholds at the bottom of your doors, if they are dry and brittle, they may need to be replaced.
– You can save about 10 per cent on heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 degrees at night. A programmable timer is a handy way to automatically do this, it also helps when your away from home for an extended time and want to keep the temperature down.
Hot Water Heater
– Save money and burn less energy by turning the thermostat down to low, during low use times. Some models have insulated blankets that fit over them to save heat.
– Double check the insulation in your attic and add to it if needed. As a rule, if you have less than 12 inches of attic insulation, you could use more.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
– Get some indoor candles and matches, and put new batteries in your flashlights in the event of a power failure.
– Put the phone numbers for your utility companies near your phone or at the front of your phone book.
– Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer.
– Set up a shelf or bin and fill with bottled water, canned goods, dry food, pet food (don’t forget about Fido), and a first-aid kit.
– Inspect for creosote buildup or other surprises which may have nested over the warmer months. A cap or screen is an easy way to prevent unwanted wildlife from pulling up stakes in your chimney.
– Make sure your fireplace damper is closed when the fireplace is not running to prevent warm air from escaping. Firewood
– Arrange for a firewood delivery and have it stacked and ready to go.
– Remove hoses from outside faucets and store them away.
– Clean out your gutters and downspouts. You may consider installing leaf guards if you have a lot of trees on your property.
– Some people use this time to hook up Christmas decorations in those hard too reach places. For myself, however; I prefer to wait until it’s bitter cold and snowing to put my lights up.
– Now is the time to caulk any leaks in your window frames, outside walls, water pipes or any other openings.
– Use spray foam to insulate areas too large for caulking.
– Inspect the mortar in brick homes and touch it up if necessary.
– Relocate your lawnmower and drain the gas.
– Tune-up your snow blowers.
– Clean and store your gardening equipment.
– Trim any trees that are hanging close to the house or electrical wires.
– Lift any bulbs or relocate any sensitive plants that may not survive the winter.
– Purchase a bag of salt or sand and have it handy.
Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to do these types of jobs before we have to, but they can easily be completed over a weekend or two, and you’ll be glad you did. It’s much nicer to complete these chores on a sunny fall day than standing on a ladder in the dead of winter.