The Beard likes to say that his birthday — July 21 — marks the beginning of the end of summertime. I swear I can already tell that the days are getting short, and nighttime around where I live has been pretty chilly for the past week. I’m not saying I’m a huge fan of the humid summertime weather we get here in the northeast, but it sure as heck beats the gigantosnow we deal with for what seems like seven months out of the year.
Okay, I’m playing the weather up just a tad, but I do sometimes wonder how a sunbird like me ended up living in an area where snowblowers are de rigueur. I can legitimately blame The Beard for that one, because he adamantly refused to move down to Florida where it’s nice and warm all year round. Now I find myself tethered to a house we vowed we will keep until our future children have moved out. Then, perhaps, we’ll move to Costa Rica where it’s nice and HOT all year round.
Before that happens, I get to do things like winterize the house. Yes, it’s still summer if you live where I live, but up until about five minutes ago, I was entirely unaware one is supposed to prepare one’s dwelling for cold weather. It’s never too early to learn about these things, right?
So what are we homeowners supposed to be doing when autumn rolls around? Here are just a few of the things you should be checking:
THE ROOF: Look for leaks around eaves, vents, skylights, and chimneys. While you’re up there, have a peek at the gutters, the downspouts, and the attic, if you have one. Repair and clean as necessary. Better yet, get down off the roof, call a pro, and enjoy the last of Indian Summer with a nice mojito.
YOUR HEATING SYSTEM: It wouldn’t do to have the burner peter out on a cold winter’s night, so vacuum baseboards or register grills, check the thermostat, change your furnace filter, oil the motorized bits, bleed the valves, and if it’s been a while, have a HVAC guy come in and inspect everything. Obviously, some of these recommendations apply to certain furnaces and not others, so do only that which applies to you.
DOORS AND WINDOWS: Do you feel a draft? Look for flattened weather stripping, and replace it. Seal any holes around windows with caulk, replace broken windows, and cover basement windows with plastic shields. Swap out screens for glass in exterior doors, and put in those pesky storm windows if you have ‘em.
PROTECT YOUR PLUMBING: Frozen pipes suck bad, so trust me when I say it pays to give them a little love before the mercury plunges too far. Have a look at the lines you can see, and ensure they’re cozy all season long by wrapping them in pipe jackets or fiberglass insulation.
Naturally, that’s not all you should be doing. Nothing’s *that* easy! Check out the winterizing how-tos at Paradoxpro and About.com to find out just how much work goes into homeownership. While you do that, I’ll be here daydreaming about living in a tropical clime…which of course are associated with a whole different set of problems.