1. Make Exterior Repairs
Mice need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your house and raid your pantry and with colder weather coming, all of the little critters out there will be looking for warm places to make a home. Fill small holes and cover any large gaps with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors.
2. Clean the Eavestrough
After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
3. Inspect the Roof
Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. “Ice, rain, and woe combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs,” says Jay Butch, Director, Contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing. “Your roof is your first defence in protecting your home. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.
4. Ready the Heating System
Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order. Gary Webster, Creative Director of Travis Industries, suggests that you examine your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket for a tight seal.
5. Reverse Ceiling Fans
Change the direction of you ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.
6. Cover Air Conditioners
Vacuum internal part of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover to prevent rusting of vital parts.
7. Clean Yard Equipment
Prepare your yard equipment for storage. This includes draining fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leave blowers, and chain saws. Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls. Organize your snow clearing gear. When snow arrives you’ll want to have shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers where you can get to them.
8. Prepare Deck for Winter
Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack.
9. Shut Off Outside Taps and Store Hoses
Protect your outdoor taps from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to them before the weather dips below freezing. Drain hoses and store them indoors.
10. Clean Dryer Vents
Lint buildup in in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire. Cool, dry weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out. You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself. If you do it yourself:
- Unplug your dryer
- Shut off the gas if you have a gas dryer
- Pull the dryer slightly away from the wall
- Loosen the clamp holding the hose
- Use a vacuum attachment or lint brush made for dryer hoses to clean out the hose and behind the dryer
- Replace the hose, gently move the dryer to the wall (without crushing the hose) and plug it in.