December brings winter chill, hot cocoa and holiday cheer. It also brings its own set of home maintenance chores to help keep the season bright.
- Inspect attic insulation. Most home heating loss is through the attic, so check the depth of insulation with a tape measure and compare to the Energy Star recommendations for your part of the country. If you’re a confident DIYer, choose between rolling out batts of insulation or renting a blower to distribute it throughout, especially hard-to-reach areas. If not, hire a licensed professional to do the job.
- Insulate exposed pipes. Inspect exposed water pipes in the attic, basement and outdoors. Install foam insulation purchased from your local hardware store. Cut to length and secure with duct tape or zip ties. If you haven’t already, put insulating covers on outdoor faucets.
- Seal cracks in driveway and sidewalks. Inspect concrete driveways and sidewalks. Use a hose and direct a hard stream of water into each crack to remove dirt and debris. After allowing ample drying time, fill each with a premixed concrete filler available at hardware stores.
- Inspect and organize holiday decorations. Before using, inspect holiday decorations and discard any that do not work properly. Consider replacing strings of old incandescent bulbs with Light Emitting Diode or LED lights. They are more expensive, but last longer, conserve energy and save on electric bills.
- Reverse ceiling fans. During winter months, set ceiling fans to a clockwise spin, which draws cold air up, pushing heat that accumulates at the ceiling down to you.
- Prepare for power outages. Be ready for ice and snow storms that could leave you stranded without power. Winter emergency kits should include battery-powered flashlights and radios, bottled water, shelf-stable foods, blankets, and heavy winter clothing and footwear. In climates with particularly harsh weather, a generator or portable power station may be a wise purchase.
- Prep your snow blower. If you haven’t already, it’s time to check over your snow equipment. Put fresh gas in the snow blower, check the oil and the air filter, and give it check start.
- Get ready for winter driving. Check the quality of your antifreeze, make sure your battery has water and a strong charge. If you need tire chains in winter, pull them out of storage.