Like it or not, Jack Frost is blowing into town soon — let us help you get ready.
We have five tips to help you prepare your home against the frigid temperatures, snow, ice and cold winds, cut your energy use, and build a strong defense against Jack's blustery attack.
Now is the time to winterize your seasonal power equipment — get your warm-weather gear ready for storage and prepare your cold-weather tools for the season.
To winterize warm-weather equipment, remember three things: lube, drain and maintain. Lube your power tools and equipment, and drain gas from mowers, tillers and any other equipment that uses fuel. Schedule any maintenance that may need to be done on this equipment, and don't forget to remove batteries in battery-powered tools.
With your warm-weather gear ready to store, get your winter tools ready for use. Fill the tank of your snow blower with gas, change the oil, and check the spark plugs, tires and all moving parts.
Weather the Storm
The front of your home feeling a bit drafty? Consider adding a storm door, which can boost your home's energy efficiency by 45 percent by keeping out drafts and reducing air leaks. And less warm air slipping out the door means more cash in your pocket.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends metal-framed storm doors with foam insulation within their frames (wooden-framed types can require more maintenance) and low-emissivity (Low-E) glass or glaze. And storm doors aren't just for the front door — patio-door versions are available, too. Bonus: Depending on which type you choose, its installation could qualify for a federal energy efficient tax credit.
In the Gutter
Most people overlook - or perhaps pretend not to see - their gutters because, well, cleaning them is a messy job. And until you see plants sprouting from them you probably don't think much about what's in there.
Gutters should be cleaned and maintained every fall. Clear out all leaves, pine needles, dirt and any other debris that's started to collect — and if you live in a wooded area, consider installing gutter guard screens to keep leaves out.
Why it's a good idea: Clean gutters and downspouts can help prevent ice dams on your roof, roof leaks and water and ice buildup on the ground below, which can cause basement flooding, among other things.
Not ready to climb up on your roof? Hire a professional rather than risk injury.
Walkway and Driveway Safety
Maintaining your walkways, steps and driveway before slippery snow and ice season is upon us is safety-smart and can also help prevent damage from developing in the asphalt or concrete. When water gets into the cracks in your walkways and driveway, then freezes, it expands and cracks the pavement around it.
How to avoid the problem? Start by sweeping walkways and driveways to better see holes or cracks of any size — it's important to patch those to keep water out. Also, take the time before the snow falls to inspect stairs and railings to make sure they are sturdy, and consider adding non-skid surface treatments.
Mow, Trim and Mulch
If you'd like your grass and perennials to come back green and healthy next spring, take some time before the first frost to get your yard ready for the winter temperatures.
Mow your lawn right up to the first frost, and then store your mower for the winter. Trim perennial flowers and mulch perennial beds to keep their roots insulated in the cold temperatures. Get rid of annual plants and plants from your garden (a perfect time to start a compost pile if you don't already have one), and prune shrubs and evergreen bushes.
Also important while winterizing your yard: water. Be sure that water is not puddling up near your home's foundation. The ground should slope away from the foundation, and downspouts should carry roof water a few feet away from the foundation.