I can’t claim that the list below is exhaustive. It might, however, save you from being stuck with a big headache – or even a heartache – this coming winter. Especially for those of us that live in the frozen north. If I missed anything that you’ve learned about the hard way, I would love it if you would email me your suggestions. Someone else might be able to learn from your experience.

Inside Your Home

  • Consider using a “smart” thermostat. Many can detect when you’re at home, or not, and adjust the temperature accordingly.
  • Consider having an energy audit. Even in newer homes, energy savers wear out in time. Most power companies will do an audit at no cost to you.
  • Seal gaps around doors and windows with new weather-stripping or caulk. A storm door will create another barrier from the cold.
  • Put specially made foam insulators begin outlet covers and switch plates.
  • Make sure your attic is well insulated (Use qualified installers so you don’t create moisture problems!)
  • Make sure ceiling fans are set to turn in a clockwise direction to push warm air down.
  • Replace your furnace filters according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Have a safety inspection done on your furnace
  • Replace batteries on smoke & CO2 detectors.

Outside Your Home

  • Fill all any crack and crevices in your foundation to prevent heat loss. You can seal up hard to reach places with expandable foam
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep. You need to know that your chimney cap, liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper are all in safe working condition.
  • Clean out your gutters so melting snow can drain. If ice dams are a problem, see about the possibility of having an ice shield installed. It might be expensive, but you could save yourself much from greater repair costs in the future.
  • Trim back any branches looming over your roof or power lines. Especially if the wood is dead. The weight of snow may easily break them and cause serious damage.
  • Talk to your local nursery about the best way to protect your specific landscaping.
  • If you have a window A/C unit, either remove it or wrap it securely to prevent heat loss.
  • Protect your deck from the winter elements with a fresh coat of sealer.

And one more thing. Make sure you know where the snow shovel and ice melt are…and be ready to use ‘em. While you’re at it, figure out what you did with the ice scraper for your car too. Like it or not, Winter’s Coming!