12 Sep

Winter Home Preparation: Now’s The Time!

winter home preparation

The changing of seasons is the perfect time to get your home’s systems prepared for colder temperatures. This winter, make certain that your home is ready to withstand whatever the Northwest brings to keep all of your systems running as efficiently as possible, and that you are prepared for a power outage.

Winter Home Preparation

Heating:

  • Make certain your heating vents are vacuumed out and clear of obstacles.
  • Replace your furnace’s air filter.
  • Test your thermostat by setting it to heat mode and turn it on. Does it kick on? Do you feel warm air blowing through the vents?
  • Test your carbon monoxide alarms, making certain they are in good working order. Now would be a good time to invest in a CO alarm if you don’t have one, and this is a service we provide.
  • Clean out and cover your air conditioning unit.
  • Inspect your chimney! Is the flue damper open? Can you get it closed? When you light a newspaper in the chimney with the damper in the open position, does the smoke rise up your chimney?
  • Check the weatherstripping on the sides and bottoms of doors. If you see light through them, then it’s time to replace it.
  • Check your windows for drafts. If you find any, rope caulking can be a quick fix.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans, if possible. This helps create a downdraft, pushing the warm air that has risen back down.

Sealing your home can go a long way toward keeping your electric bill down to reasonable levels during the darker and colder winter months.

Electricity:

  • Look for outlets where water could be a hazard, both inside and outside. Consider installing GFCI outlets to help prevent shock.
  • Check all of your cords and plugs. Are any loose? Frayed? It’s time to replace them.
  • Consider installing foam insulating outlet sheets. Outlets that are against outside walls can be a source of heat loss. The foam sheet can trap warm air that is leaking out.
  • If you have a space heater, check its operation and function now, BEFORE you need to use it.
  • Switch bulbs to energy-efficient lighting. With the sun setting earlier, our lights will be on longer. Consider changing out old incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescents or LED’s.
  • Fall is an excellent time to consider purchasing and installing a home backup generator.

Outdoors:

  • Trim any tree branches that may hang too close to electrical wires.
  • Make certain your garage door is in good working order, and that you can open it manually. Test manual operation before you get stuck inside!
  • Test your landscape lighting and switch out to energy efficient bulbs. When it’s dark and wet, good lighting can help keep you safe.
  • Inspect your electrical panel box. Make any necessary repairs. Call us if you have any questions.
  • Clean out your gutters.

It’s always a smart idea to have a emergency power outage kit readily available. For tips on how to prepare a kit, check out this article from Lifehacker.

Stay warm, dry, and ready in the coming months!

About Karen Mares

A Portlander born and raised, Karen lives in Southwest Portland with her husband and children. Karen has kept journals throughout her life, and she began her personal blog, Random Thoughts From A Suburban Mom in 2007. She hasn't stopped writing since, channeling her passion for words and information into writing and communicating through social media and blogging.