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    Cold Weather Home Maintenance: A Simple Guide

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    As the temperature drops and the leaves change colors, people everywhere break out their sweaters in anticipation of winter and the upcoming holiday season. However, it’s not all cozy scarves and sitting by the fire– homeowners have a list of preparations for the maintenance and upkeep of their houses. Prepping your home in the fall can prevent costly repairs in the future. For instance, insulating your pipes can help prevent them freezing over which can lead to bursts that disrupt your entire home plumbing system. Changing your air filters will keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently, saving you money and keeping your home more comfortable.

    Below is a simple guide to more fall and winter home maintenance projects you should complete throughout the season.

    Have the Furnace Inspected

    At the very least, a leaky furnace costs you heating efficiency and big bucks on your power bill. At the very most it can potentially seep deadly amounts of carbon monoxide into your house, putting you and your entire family in danger. Have your local HVAC expert inspect your furnace for leaks and make sure everything is prepared and ready for winter. Furthermore, change the system’s filters and stock up on some extras for an easy change come spring. You should also place carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home just for extra safety. If you already have carbon monoxide detectors, check their batteries and replace dead ones as needed. And while you are at it, check and replace batteries in your home smoke detectors. Home fire risks increase throughout the holidays and winter months.

    Protect Outdoor Furniture

    Outdoor furniture is durable, but it’s not made to withstand freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. Harsh winter weather strips paint and warps wood, shortening the life of your pool or patio set. If you have room in the basement or the garage, store your furniture until the spring thaw. If you don’t have storage available, waterproof outdoor furniture covers can help protect wood and metal frames, but you should still bring in cloth cushions.

    Get Your Hands Into the Gutters

    Late autumn is the most important time to clean out the gutters. Falling leaves and dust clog the drains throughout the season and if you don’t get rid of the debris, you are putting yourself at risk for a few major problems down the road. If the clogs are not removed and a heavy rain comes, water can pool up and damage your roof, sides, or even foundation. If gutters are filled with gunk and then freeze over, that extra weight can put enough pressure on the bearings for the system to crack or break. Both possible situations are bad enough for you to break out the ladder and do it yourself.

    Fertilize the Lawn

    Fertilizing your lawn in the fall helps nourish the soil and roots for lush grass come spring. The first step is aerating the soil, using tools to puncture the earth and deliver oxygen into the dirt. It allows your lawn to “breathe” in a way. The next step is applying dry fertilizer that will create a protective barrier over the soil, keeping the grass roots underneath alive. Fertilizer also provides essential nutrients for grass so you can look forward to a plush, green lawn once the weather warms.

    Protect Potted Plants

    Potted plants won’t survive a freeze, so move them indoors to a sunroom or greenhouse to keep them warm and prevent deadly frost. If you can’t bring your flowers indoors, you will have to replace them the next year– which is fine! Empty, clean, and store the pots and reuse them when March and April roll around.

    ***

    Being a homeowner means protecting your investment. In the fall, that requires maintenance that prevents costly damages in the winter. First off, have your furnace inspected to keep your family warm and safe. Cleaning the gutters can prevent costly cracks and leaks that are even worse when it is cold out. Finally, retire your yard for the season by protecting outdoor furniture, fertilizing your lawn, and protecting potted plants until next spring.

    Written by Paul Denikin of Dad Knows DIY

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