Sunday, October 24, 2010


It’s October. We’re enjoying unseasonable weather. But we’re doing so on borrowed time. Old Man Winter will arrive in a heartbeat.

His only redeeming quality is that he temporarily relieves me of yard work. That’s it. Otherwise, I hate that dude. Seriously.

Before he gets here and officially settles in, there are a handful of things that really need doing around any house. At my house in particular, these are on the list. They might be good reminders for your house, too:

Furnace check. Get a certified professional to give your furnace a once-over. Vacuum around your unit and either clean out your ducts yourself or call in professionals. Put in a clean filter before kicking it on.
Wood watch. If you have wood surfaces, make sure you give them a thorough inspection. Make sure that these surfaces are sealed or painted. Bare wood will disintegrate under winter’s harsh conditions. If you find damage or failing surfaces, repair them. Caulk and paint can be your best friends. If the damage is too severe, they may only provide a Band-Aid. If it’s not bad, you have nipped it in the bud and shored it up to survive the season. You’ll be glad you did in the spring!
Tap off. Make sure that you drain your hose and cover any outside taps before temperatures drop below freezing. If you have a shut-off controlling it, shut it off. You can get by with a few nights in the 30s, but don’t play around and wait until continuous 20-degree temps. That’s begging for a water line to burst. Wipe off any excess water from the faucet before attaching a cover.
Machine maintenance. Once you’ve ground up the last of autumn’s leaves, make sure that you thoroughly clean your lawnmower. I always give it an extra good washing (including its air filter) and drain it of both gasoline and oil. Then, when it’s time for the first spring cut, I just add oil and gas and we’re off and running. Make sure you don’t leave rechargeable batteries for weed eaters and other tools out in the cold. Store them in a warm, dry place. Whether you use them or not, give them a charge every month or so during the winter to keep them live.
Cover up. Either stow away or cover your barbecue grill and outdoor furniture. It will keep them looking new and performing well for years to come.

What do you do to get ready for winter?

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