Prepping your home and family for winter is important—particularly if you live in a northern climate. While you are busy getting your holiday plans in order, you might forget to take care of certain parts of your home. Particularly, areas that—if left unattended would result in significant property damage.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources you can find online to help you get ready for winter. While you may not have to do all of these, you should look objectively at your home and make a personalized checklist to get it done before the snow rolls in.
One of the first things you should do before it gets cold is thoroughly inspect your heating and air conditioning systems. Many professionals recommend switching out air filters at least yearly—especially before winter. You should also inspect these systems (or hire a professional to do it) if you notice any problems. There are several reasons for this.
First, having clogged filters and poor technology will drive up the cost of your energy bills. This is a result of your HVAC system having to work harder while offering sub-par heating and cooling results. If you want to make sure you have a pleasant winter, get your HVAC system checked out.
Sweep Your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, you are going to want to clean that as well. Because people use their fireplace most often during the winter, you might not think to clean it until it will cause problems for you. For instance, heat escapes through a fireplace chimney if you don’t maintain it well. This costs you money and wastes precious heat.
The most dangerous result of an unkempt fireplace can do the opposite—it can fill your home with smoke and potentially suffocate you if you aren’t careful. If you don’t use your fireplace often, you might be able to get away with not doing this one.
Cleaning your gutters is a nasty but essential chore. If you live somewhere that is temperate with vibrant trees and heavy snow, this should be a priority for you. Leaves, rainwater, and other things can get lodged in your gutters, which can cause poor irrigation and potentially break them once the snow falls. Make sure your gutters are clean of leaves and other debris.
Though rain gutters are often forgotten, maintaining them can prevent your home from flooding and save you a load of money. Getting it done early will keep it from becoming more dangerous and less icy, too.
Vacuum Carpets and Upholstery
Not everything that you need to clean and prepare for is outside. You should also make sure to vacuum your carpets and clean your furniture. While this is not an issue of home damage, taking care of your property can make your inside more pleasant to stay in once it is colder.
By vacuuming regularly, you can protect your carpet from mold and mildew damage. You can also eliminate food products, hair, and other mischievous things that get stuck in your floor. Taking care of your furniture will also eliminate unwanted odors and improve your home’s livability.
Fill in the Cracks
One huge problem many people face is basement flooding. While you can eliminate some of the risk by cleaning out your gutters and properly irrigating water downhill, you also should fill in cracks in your home’s foundation as soon as possible.
Window cracks and door cracks can let cold drafts of air into your home. In the coldest places, drafts can be horrendous and dangerous to your home’s integrity. If you notice drafts invest in weatherstripping and caulking for your windows and doors. These practices will keep your home warm and happy.
Declutter Your Storage
There is a reason there is “spring cleaning” after a long winter. During the cold months, people find that they are more willing to have clutter in their home. If you develop a mountain of clutter over the course of one season, you might need a system to declutter your home. Starting in the fall can save you some grief in spring.
The best way to declutter is to have a system. Start with an area in your living room, for example, and spend an hour or two there. As you gradually work a little bit each day, you will find cleaning can be enjoyable—not overwhelming.
One of the most important areas of your home to clean and prepare is your garage. Garages tend to be a place where people stick things if they do not have room elsewhere. Because of this, they can be cluttered and potentially dangerous to walk through.
Start by sorting your items into different piles: the needs and the junk. Once you do that, the difficult part comes up: how do you organize this stuff? Luckily, there are plenty of shelf options, storage units, and organizers you can look for to break up your items and keep them organized.
Deep Clean the Kitchen
The kitchen is potentially the most-used room in your home. Family gatherings are also frequent because of the holidays happening during fall and winter. Because of this, giving your kitchen a true deep clean can be a huge benefit. But what is the difference between keeping your kitchen clean and deep cleaning?
The intensity and variety of ways to clean the kitchen sets a deep clean apart. Make sure your oven gets cleaned, sweep behind the refrigerator and stove tops (you will need to move them), sterilize all the counters, sort everything in your refrigerator. These chores will make your kitchen feel better to cook in.
Cleaning your home will keep you happier and less stressed in your own home. While you may not have to do all of these, if you find at least one or two of them to accomplish, you will feel more rewarded and relaxed later.
Whether you decide to organize your kitchen, garage, or fireplace, you should always feel safe in your home. The winter months can be hard if you are not prepared. But this list can give you the guidelines to start based on your home situation.
Read this next: How to Finally Complete the Renovation You’ve Always Wanted
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