Yes you need to winterize your home. If you are like me, you hate to think about the dip in temperatures the bare landscape and those long winter nights, but winter is coming, and you should take some time this fall to prepare your home. By taking care of these items, you can rest easier knowing your home is ready for the colder temperatures, and you may save money and your life by taking these preventative steps.
Many of the items on the list can be done by the average homeowner, but if you are not handy, or do not have the time call a professional. To find professionals you can search on line, use one of the many referral sites, check classified ads in local papers or get referrals from friends and neighbors, and then you can go old school and let your fingers do the walking in the yellow pages. Check with your local utility provider to see if they offer a discount to or insurance on your furnace. I have gotten great deals by using discounts found on-line for services like duct and chimney cleaning. Regardless of how you find a provider always check them out.
Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure you inspect them again after the leaves fall.
Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk.
Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.
Repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps.
Drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.
Clean or replace dirty furnace filters.
Have a professional inspect your heating system.
Check fireplaces for soot or creosote build-up. Better yet, schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep.
To keep the humidifier humming, clean the plates or pads to ensure efficient operation.
If you have a gas-fired room heater, have it inspected by a pro. Also, perform any routine maintenance recommended by the maker.
If you have a wood stove be sure to inspect yours before firing it up.
A home safety check should be an annual ritual in every household. Test smoke and CO monitors, inspect (or install) fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans, and rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards