Temperatures in Georgia have dropped and winter is nearly here. You might be ready to curl up with a warm drink and hibernate for a while. But without some quick home maintenance, you could be setting yourself up for a long, difficult winter. Make it go more smoothly by checking out the tips below.
10 Home Maintenance Tips to Prepare for Winter
1. Prep your lawn mower.
The most common species of grass used in Georgia (bermudagrass) goes dormant during the winter. Which means you can take a break from mowing! However, letting leftover gas sit in the tank can cause the engine to deteriorate.
To fix this, you can add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. Make sure it reaches the carburetor by turning the motor on for about 5 minutes before putting the mower away.
2. Seal cracks in your home's exterior.
This is incredibly important to make sure moisture doesn't enter cracks in your exterior and damage your walls. The fix is simple. Pick up some exterior caulk from your local hardware store, and walk around the outside of your house. Seal any cracks you see between the trim and siding, door/window frames, and anywhere pipes and wires enter your house.
You can get multiple tubes of caulk to match your home, as well.
And make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight by weather stripping it. This keeps out drafts, and prevents small animals and insects from getting in.
3. Clear out the gutters.
Georgia doesn't get a lot of snow, but we are prone to ice. Clogged gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs in the future. Prevent this by removing all the leaves and gunk from your gutters. While you're up there, also make sure to tighten the downspout brackets and loose gutter hangers. Also be sure to replace any damaged gutters.
4. Have your furnace checked.
Having your furnace checked is relatively cheap, and can help you catch any problems with your furnace before you're left without heat in the middle of January. It can be done by any heating and cooling professional in about 30-40 minutes. If you don't already have an annual maintenance contract, you may also consider signing one. That way, this will get done every year without you needing to remember.
5. Cut back any plants near your house.
Overgrown trees and other plants can cause moisture to drip into your roof and siding. The limbs can also cause damage if winds get too strong. It's best if they're kept at least 3 feet away from your house. You can check UGA Extension's post on Pruning Ornamental Plants
if you're unsure how to handle it.
6. Check fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.
If you're unsure about their reliability, have them replaced.
7. Clear out your patio.
Pressure wash the patio and siding, and then move your grill and outdoor furniture to a protected area. If you have nowhere you can put it, cover it with an outdoor furniture cover. You can purchase them at any store that sells outdoor furniture (Target, Home Depot, etc.).
8. Check your fireplace.
If you have a fireplace that you intend to use, make sure to have it checked by a professional. Check the damper for soot buildup, and remove any blockages (such as birds nests to prevent house fires.
9. Keep interior doors open and let faucets drip.
Keeping all of your doors open during the winter will help even out the temperature throughout your home, preventing pipes from freezing over. Letting your faucets drip at night, or when you're not home, will also keep the water flowing through your pipes. Moving water is less likely to freeze over than still water. Moving water is warmer water, as well.
If, despite all of your maintenance, your pipes still burst in the winter, knowing where that main water valve is will be crucial.
10. Call pest control.
Make sure no unwanted guests decide to make themselves cozy in your home.
If it makes it easier, Martha Stewart has a printable checklist you can use. Try to check off a couple items each week to make it less overwhelming. Stay warm!
Do you have anything to add? What tips would you give someone on protecting their home in the winter? Let me know on my Facebook page!
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