The leaves are falling, and snow season is just around the corner. As the mercury drops, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for cold weather.
Getting ready now can save you a lot of time and trouble when the first blizzard hits. So, here are four tips to prepare for winter’s arrival.
1. Seal and Insulate
A small investment in weather sealing can save you a lot of money on your energy bills and help you stay warm during cold weather.
Close gaps around doors and windows with weather stripping or caulk. In addition, inspect your insulation in the attic, basement, walls and around pipes. Consider adding more if you notice the insulation is sparse or you feel drafts.
Finally, use draft stoppers under interior doors to prevent heat loss from room to room. You can purchase some at the home center, or make your own.
2. Clean the Fireplace
A fireplace needs annual maintenance — at a minimum — to ensure it runs efficiently and safely. Otherwise, it could fail during cold weather, or worse, present a hazard.
Hire a professional chimney sweep to make sure your fireplace is safe and soot-free before firing up those logs.
And when it is time to light a fire, only use firewood that has been seasoned and dry for at least six months.
Finally, when you’re not using your fireplace, keep the flue closed to prevent cold air from leaking in and raising your heating bill.
3. Stock the Shelves
The last thing you want is to get snowed in and run out of toilet paper, food or other essentials. It’s especially important to keep a well-stocked pantry during winter months.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of toiletries, paper goods and shelf-stable food.
You should also stock up on cold-weather items like ice melt, salt and sand as well as candles for power outages.
If you have a gas generator, get it inspected before you need it, and make sure you have plenty of fuel on hand. It will come in handy for plugging in a space heater as an alternative heating source.