Fall is officially here and that means winter isn’t far behind. Although Colorado has more sunny days than it does cloudy, snowy ones in the winter, the cold, snow and slush can do their damage to your home – inside and out – as well as to your utility bills.
This Old House offers these tips on how to start preparing for winter in the fall:
Install/maintain paths and walkways
Ensure you, your family and your guests have safe passage to and from your door by installing a brick walkway. You should also check sidewalks and driveways for cracks, as if they’re not filled before, water can seep in and freeze, making them even larger. Resurface worn concrete now to save time and money later.
Light the way
Shorter days means many people come home from work in the dark, so install low-voltage landscape lighting along walkways and driveways as well as steps, trees, stonewalls, fences and other prominent garden features.
Prep landscape and start composting
Grass roots keep growing until ground temperature drops to 40 degrees, making fall a good time to feed them with a high-phosphorus (12-25-12) mix, so turf greens up earlier in spring. It’s also an ideal time to seed a new lawn, start a compost pile, and trim shrubs and trees.
Hide unsightly containers
Make sure beat-up trash cans and overflowing recycling bins aren’t ruining the beauty of the holidays by building a sturdy storage house that hides two 32-gallon trash cans and several stacked recycling bins. The shed should have flip-open lids for easy access, and bifold front doors make moving heavy cans in and out simple.
Organize the garage
The fall is a good time to reorganize and clean up the garage after all the action it saw over the summer and so you can actually park the car in there during the winter months. You might also fill up the snow blower while you’re in there, so you are not caught off guard when the first snowstorm hits, and tune up the lawn mower so it’s ready when you are in the spring.
Freeze-proof exterior faucets
Prevent a dead-of-winter nightmare of a burst water pipe by replacing your existing hose faucet with a freeze-proof faucet Even the most intrepid do-it-yourselfer shudders at the thought of a burst water pipe. And don’t forget to remove the hose from the faucet!
Maintain the washer and dryer
Prevent a burst washing-machine hose, which can spill hundreds of gallons of water an hour, or dryer fire from lint built up inside the machine or its ducts, by replacing a washer’s old rubber hoses and discarding the dryer's flimsy—and flammable—vinyl duct and putting a metal one in its place.
Drape Away Drafts
Even after they’ve been weather-stripped and caulked, windows in older homes can still allow drafts in. To keep drafts out, considering installing shades, curtains or blinds in the winter. Window shades also provide control of natural light.
Service your heating system
A yearly cleaning and inspection of your furnace can prevent the pumping of carbon monoxide into your home, or the system from breaking down on the coldest night of the year. If you have forced-air heating, change the furnace filter for a more efficient-running system and to improve the air quality.
To see a list of 16 tips to winterize your home, visit http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20428035,00.html.