Get ready Northeast Ohio, winter is around the corner! Dan and Pat Hurst, of Hurst Remodeling offer this helpful checklist to help you get your home and your garage ready for the cold days ahead. “The best time to get started on winter home prep is during the warmer days of fall. (Hopefully we will have a few) There is a lot of work to do inside and outside your home and it’s much easier to work outside when its 55° than when its 25° – so hopefully when this freezing weather breaks we can get outside and get our homes ready for a long cold winter.”
Shut off all outdoor water spigots. Even if you have a frost-free water spigot it is still a good idea to shut off the water over the winter. The shut off valve is typically in the basement ceiling just below the location of the outdoor spigot. Each spigot will have its own valve inside the house. Once you turn off the water at each location, go back outside to drain any remaining water from the pipe. This process will eliminate any water that could freeze inside the spigot or pipe and cause damage.
Bring all hoses into the garage to avoid the dramatic temperature changes. This will extend the life of your hoses over time. We recommend a wall mounted hose wheel to keep hoses off the garage floor and out of the way.
Clean the gutters. You may have to do this more than once this fall. Any water that pools in clogged gutters can freeze, potentially damaging the gutter, the roof or siding, and even cause ice dams which can leak right into your home and cause extensive damage.
Remove screens and replace them with storm windows if you have them. Rinse the screens and bring them into the garage or basement for winter storage. Screens left up all winter can be damaged and are expensive to replace. In the spring you will be able to clean your windows before you put the screens back in place.
Clean and dry your patio furniture, if you don’t have storage space in your basement, shed or garage, cover the furniture with a heavy tarp and strap it down with bungee cords or tie downs.
Make sure all outdoor vents are clear of debris and covered with screens to prevent insects and rodents from moving in looking for a clean dry place to sleep over the winter.
Make sure the garage is stocked with shovels and rock salt for your driveways and walks. Prepare your snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug. Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
Hang and test your Holiday lights while it’s still warm out. They will look great when the snow falls but being on a ladder on a snowy day is not a great idea.
Clear a spot in your garage for your car. A lot of families use their garage for storage and park outside. Keeping your car inside so you don’t need to scrape the ice and snow off of it in the morning is a much better way to start the day – definitely worth the effort now.
Have your furnace inspected. You don’t want to find out during the next ‘Polar Vortex’ that your furnace needs repair. A professional inspection can save you money and headaches later. And while you are thinking about it, change your furnace filters for maximum efficiency.
Make sure your CO2 alarms and smoke alarms are installed and in good working order.
Check all your doors and windows for drafts. It may be time to replace them or maybe all you need is to caulk around the edges or add new weather stripping.
Have a professional inspect your fireplace to ensure it is venting properly and is structurally sound. This is worth doing for wood burning and gas fireplaces. Also make sure you have durable fireplace screens and tools to keep the fire where it belongs.
You’re done!! It’s time to build a nice fire in the fireplace, sit back and relax… at least until the first snow flies and its time to shovel the driveway!