Photography by Dan Noon via Flickr
As the leaves fall and the days grow shorter, it’s a good time to prepare yourself and your home for the colder weather.
- Eliminate unwanted draughts by checking the exterior, doors and windows of your home for cracks or gaps around the edges. Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from getting in.
- Replacing cracked glass in windows and, if replacing the entire window, prime and paint any exposed wood.
- Take a look at your curtains. Consider adding an extra thermal layer to the back of them – especially in children’s bedrooms or south-facing rooms.
- Check your gutters and downpipes. Clear any leaves from the gutters and spray the downpipes with a hose to clear away accumulated debris. Investiage installing a storm water tank to collect rainwater over the winter.
- What’s your insulation situation? Consider adding extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air from escaping through your roof. Check that old blow-in insulation hasn’t settled and become ineffective, or if you have batts, that there are no gaps between them.
- Inspect your roof flashing to ensure water cannot get in. Replace any worn roof shingles or tiles. Think about installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from your home.
- If you have an open fireplace, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a sweep. Buy firewood or chop wood and stack it in a dry place away form the exterior of your home.
- Plant spring flower bulbs. I you live in an area where the ground freezes, lift any bulbs, such as dahlias, that cannot winter over.
- Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than ten years. Check the batteries of your smoke detectors and install extra detectors where necessary. Discuss an emergency evacuation plan.
- While you’re in safety mode, prepare an emergency kit with candles, matches and a lighter to use during a power shortage. Pack bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if necessary), blankets and a first-aid kit. List the phone numbers of your utility companies and tape them near your phone.
- Trim any tree branches hanging too close to the house or electrical wires and move delicate potted plants indoors – or to a more sheltered and sunny part of your property.
- Leaves can kill of your own lawn, so rake them up and start a compost pile.
- Clean, dry and store away any summer outdoor furniture or gardening tools.
- Harvest or buy a box of tomatoes, apples or late summer stone fruits and create a stash of fruity preserves.
- Organise your craft supplies. Collect old jumpers to felt or line up someone to teach you how to crochet.