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Pre-winter Home Maintenance - 2/29/2012
Fall may be the perfect time for you to enjoy outdoor activities, but this perfect weather will soon be gone. Take care of pre-winter home maintenance now, so you won't have regrets later.

Don’t get lost in the perfect fall weather and put off pre-winter home maintenance this year, or you will regret it next spring. Follow these quick and easy home maintenance tips to prepare your house for the cold season ahead.

  1. Weatherproof windows and doors. Seal gaps larger than 1/8 inch around windows and doors to cut your winter heating bill by up to 15 percent. Use adhesive-backed closed-cell foam on windows and foam strips on the sides and top of doors, and install a door sweep on the bottom.
  2. Check your gutters. Make sure gutters are clean of debris and that water is properly directed out the downspout.
  3. Fix cracked concrete. Cracks in your driveway, walkway and steps are a safety issue, and will only worsen if water seeps into them and freezes in the winter. You can caulk and fix concrete if the area is clean and dry. For smaller cracks, squeeze acrylic latex concrete repair compound into the crack, smoothing excess with a putty knife. Use a vinyl concrete patching compound for larger cracks, and let it cure for one day before walking on it, three days before driving over it.
  4. Trees and power lines. Check trees around the house to make sure they are not threatening any power line wires.
  5. Check the roofing for cracks or missing shingles. Check asphalt for dry or curling shingles; wood for rot and splints; slate and tile for broken/missing pieces; and flat roofs for holes.
  6. Look around the attic space during daylight hours, with the lights turned off. Check for holes in the roofing and keep an eye out for animal activity or entry points for animals.
  7. If you have ceiling fans, change their rotation clockwise (by flicking a switch on the base) to push warm air down. Clean debris and dust from fan’s blades.
  8. Prepare your garden and planting beds. Mulch around your bulbs, shrubs, roses and trees to prevent any drastic changes in soil temperature from destroying the root systems of these plants.
  9. Take care of the lawn mower and garden tools. Run the gas out of the mower for storage, change the oil and check the spark plug. Clean garden tools and give them a light coat of oil to protect them from rust.
  10. Drain the water. If you live in a location where it freezes, drain the garden hose, coil it up and hang it up where it won’t freeze or crack. If you have a sprinkler system, drain it, and shut off the water to prevent pipes from freezing.

 



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