When it comes to getting your house ready for winter, a lot of people ask, “When should I do it?” The answer is “Before you need to.” There’s no inappropriate time to get your property ready for the coldest days of winter.
The Heat is On, Unless it’s Broken
Like any other appliance, the older the furnace, the more likely there are to be issues with it. If you had problems with your furnace last winter, you’ll want to contact a heating repair expert as soon as possible, especially since they tend to be much busier in the dead of winter. Maybe there’s an easy fix for your furnace dilemma, or maybe the best thing to do is remove the old furnace and install a newer, more efficient one. Take a long look at your options when the weather is a little warmer and you have the luxury of time. Otherwise you might end up with a broken furnace when the thermostat is at 10 degrees below zero, and panic often leads to bad decisions.
Then there’s fireplaces, which have a decidedly more romantic reputation than furnaces. When the weather outside is frightful, you want the fire to be delightful. Wood-burning fireplaces are common, but gas logs are also an option. You can even convert your wood-burning fireplace to gas if you decide you’re tired of going out each winter and chopping down firewood. With gas fireplaces, you can just press a button and start getting cozy.
What do furnaces, fireplaces, and even boilers all have in common? A flue. Flues ensure the dangerous stuff goes outside rather than inside your home. A flue that’s clogged or malfunctioning can be very dangerous, even deadly. One of the best-case scenarios is that it triggers your house’s carbon monoxide alarm, which means you need to get outside, away from the bad air. At worst, your house doesn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm (you should really get one, by the way).
The Snow Factor
So you’ve made sure your heat source is ready to go, which means you’re all done, right? Maybe not. Think about how much snow your city got last winter. If it was just a few inches, congratulations and please don’t gloat too much. If you got several feet of snow, then you have our sympathies. You also need to figure out a way to deal with all that snow once it’s on the ground. You’ll lose valuable time and energy shoveling snow out of your driveway before you head into work. It would be much more efficient to just hire a snow removal service to do the job for you. While your neighbors are shoveling their front yards and cursing, you can be walking safely to your car.
Don’t forget the ice, either. Snow is more visible, but ice is much more dangerous. At least once a winter, you probably walk out the front door without really thinking, only to step on a slippery patch of sidewalk and go splat. In just a few seconds, you’ve acquired both a bruised tailbone and a bruised ego. There are videos out there advising you to “walk like a penguin” to avoid slipping, but since you’re already hiring snow removal experts, why not have them de-ice the sidewalk as well? Rock salt and cat litter can only do so much, so you might as well bring in the big guns.
In the middle of July, while you’re sitting on your back porch and sipping homemade pink lemonade, it’s easy to forget that winter even exists. But denial will get you nowhere (perhaps literally, if you can’t get your car out of your snow-packed driveway). Start winterizing now, and all you’ll have to worry about come December is stocking up on hot cocoa.