Seeing your breath in the morning air lately? Yep, that’s autumn come to call, and that means it’s time to winterize your home before it gets any colder.
Fill those gaps. For starters, make sure that the heat you’re paying for actually stays inside your house this winter by sealing and caulking (while it’s still warm enough) around all your windows and doors. Chances are, the all-weather seals already do this. But do a good inspection anyway, especially on the south side of the house, where seals and caulk can undergo the most expansion and contraction because of their greater exposure to the sun. If you do find cracks, fill them in with expandable outdoor caulk or foam weather strip, whichever is more applicable.
Clean that chimney. Nothing says wintertime comfort like a wood fire in the fireplace. If you have a wood-burning fireplace and you know you haven’t had the chimney cleared of soot for a while, make the investment. Creosote buildup (old ash and hardened tree sap) on the lining of your chimney can cause a flash fire that is very difficult to extinguish. You can buy a do-it-yourself chimney sweeping kit, but be warned: Soot is messy!
Clean the gutters. Winterizing also means preparing for spring. So make sure your gutters are clear of debris so that spring rains will drain properly off your roof (and so the rotting leaves don’t cause a lasting mess).
Winterizing can take a little time, but you’ll have lower energy bills and a lot more peace of mind as a result. Stay warm!