Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Prepping the home for winter

I write a guest blog, Hey Neighbor, for Dwell Denver Real Estate once a month. This is September's post.


Hey Neighbor,

It’s that time! The nights are cooler, the leaves are edged in yellow, and we’re a few short weeks from what always proves to be a snowy Halloween in Colorado. So how best to prep your home for the months ahead? Follow the checklist below and you are well on your way to a stress-free winter. 

  1. Check gutters and downspouts for debris. Buy extenders that divert downspout water 3-4 feet from your home. I love these downspout extensions from Home Depot and have used them on 2 homes to great success. 
  2. Scan your roof for missing shingles or damage from summer storms. Make sure all flashing is secure.
  3. Clean your fireplace and chimney, making sure the flue is open and free of debris.
  4. Clean your outdoor furniture and cover or store for winter.
  5. Blow out your sprinklers and outdoor faucets before turning them off for the season. (We call a professional for this, but you can always try your hand at it via a Youtube tutorial.)
  6. Remove the bag from the lawn mower and mulch your leaves to allow them to protect and feed your grass through the winter. This is also the time to mow down seasonal grasses and wild flowers to allow them to reseed next spring.
  7. Add soil amendments (bone meal, manure, compost) to your garden soil and cover with leaves until spring. Alternately you could plant a winter cover crop like rye. Check out Plant Talk Colorado or Organic Gardening for more info.
  8. Drain the gas from mowers and power tools before you stash them away for the winter.
  9. Make sure snow blowers, shovels, salt and ice melt are stocked and in working order before the first storm hits.
  10. Fix drafty windows and doors. You can address the issue yourself, or pop over to Ogsplosh on Etsy and order a few cute draft snakes for the home. Sometimes the easiest fixes are the best!
  11. Reverse ceiling fans (there should be a switch on the base) and use on the lowest setting to blow hot air back down into your living space.
  12. Install a programmable thermostat if you haven’t yet. Check out this Lowe’s tutorial – super easy. 
  13. Replace the filter in your furnace.
  14. Test the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as flashlights.
  15. Stock a few essentials for snow days so that you aren’t one of the masses hitting the local grocery during a blizzard. Easy go-to dinners to keep at the back of the pantry include macaroni and cheese (yep, we have little kids!), canned chili, canned soups, crackers, and that all-time classic, the frozen pizza. Better yet, make double batches of soups, sauces and casseroles going into fall and freeze them!
  16. Put your feet up with a spiced apple cider and a good book – you’ve earned it! Bring on the snow.

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