It’s the time of year in Colorado Springs when we still have plenty of gorgeous weather, but the temperature is regularly dropping below 32 degrees at night. This means your furnace is kicking on and your preparation last month is coming in handy now because everything is in tip top shape. Keep in mind that you may need to take another look at your gutters even if you cleaned them last month. It usually takes a few fall storms to shake out all of the leaves and pine needles from the trees. You’ll find a list below to help you prepare your home for the winter months ahead.
1. Gather your winter tools
Make sure you have plenty of snowmelt on hand just in case, but be careful as regular deicing material is dangerous for pets and hard on their paws. It can also be problematic for your concrete. It is best to avoid using snowmelt at all by removing snow on walkways, paths and driveways first thing in the morning before anyone has driven on it. The sun will do the rest for you if you don’t have a north facing driveway. Make sure your shovels and brooms are in working order, and check the oil and functions of your snowblower if you have one.
2. Winter watering
You had your sprinklers blown out last month, but your plants and lawn will still need water over the winter months. According to local nursery, Heinrich’s Tree Farm, you should be giving your lawn and vegetation about 1/2″ of water per month through winter. Be sure to hand water on warm days to keep your plants alive through the winter. Don’t forget to disconnect the water hose from the bib once you are done watering.
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Take a look at the exterior of your home. If your furnace vent or dryer vents are fairly low to the ground, you’ll need to remove any debris, bushes or other vegetation around it. If we get a big snowstorm, be sure to remove any snow from the vents to avoid problems with either of these systems.
4. Test your sump pump
Skip this step if you don’t have a sump pump. Make sure the exit pipe for your sump pump is free from debris before testing. Depending on your home’s type of sump pump, you probably only need to pour some water into it. It should kick on and pump out the water.
5. Prevent Ice Damming
Consider taking steps to prevent ice damming this winter if your home has had issues with this in the past. If you have access to your roof, you can brush the snow off your roof as much as possible. If that’s not an option, you can add ceiling insulation or better yet install heating cables.
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6. Reverse ceiling fans
Reverse your ceiling fans to run clockwise and push the warm air down.
7. Protect your air conditioning unit
Protect your air conditioning condenser unit. Don’t buy a water proof cover because these units are made for the elements. But falling icicles or other heavy items during windy storms could damage it. Simply put a sheet of plywood on top of the unit and weigh it down with bricks.
8. Water heater
Flush your water heater to remove sediment.
9. Winterize your patio furniture
Store your patio furniture in a garage or shed or cover your pieces with a tarp or tailored weatherproof covers.
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10. Install new weather stripping
You can reduce your energy bill dramatically by reducing drafts in your home. Check all windows and doors for any cold that might come into the home. Install or replace weather stripping to keep your home cozy and warm.
11. Seal it!
It’s hard to believe that most homes have gaps not only at windows, but also around pipes or electrical wiring going through walls, ceilings or to the outside of the home. Visually inspect those exit points for gaps and seal them if needed.
12. Get ready
If you are truly becoming a Coloradan, take a look at all your snow and ski gear in order to be ready when the big powder comes in! Skis, sleds, snow shoes: check, check, check. Ready.