Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday's Household Assignment- Get ready for winter!

I know it is barely fall but before you know it, winter will be upon us and you want to be ready for it.
There are a few things that you need to do before it gets colder.

Make the following appointments this week with:
  •   A qualified heating and cooling professional: You should have your furnace inspected by some one qualified  before you need to turn it on. This inspection will make sure that you don't have any cracks or leaks in your heat exchanger, which could leak Carbon Monoxide into your house.  It will also check to make sure that your furnace is working before you need it. Also see if the person can check your gas fireplaces before using. These should be checked annually as well. When the furnace tech is there, go ahead and change your furnace filters. They should be changed at least once every 2 months (better if they are cleaned or replaced once a month) and you should start the furnace with a clean filter in it at the beginning of the season.
  • A Chimney Expert (sweep): Yes, they still exist and no they don't sing and dance on your roof!  Seriously, you should have your flues and chimneys checked every year especially if you have a wood stove and even if you only have a gas fireplace. Every year many homes and lives are lost due to a fire caused by a dirty or faulty chimney.  
  • Optional- do it yourself or call a Sprinkler Repair Company- If you have an automatic sprinkler system, you need to drain the entire system, the pipes, valve boxes and back flow device. Any remaining water left in the system will freeze and crack the pipe or parts, so they must be blown out with air if possible.  Do this before the first heavy freeze in your area. 
  • Hoses: Unscrew all of the hoses from your exterior faucets and insulate the faucets with foam caps to prevent freezing.
This week it's time to get the garage cleaned up and winter items out and ready.
  • Organize all of the summer toys and summer items and put to the back of the garage. 
  • Dig out the ice scrapers and shovels. Make sure that your shovels are all in good working order with no breaks or cracks on the blades. By checking them now, if they need to be replaced, you can beat the rush. Put an ice scraper into your car.
  • Make sure that you have a gallon or two of windshield washer fluid to fill your car back up with after snow storm slush drives.
  • Snow blower: If you have one, check the spark plugs, oil, oil filter, air filter and gas yourself, then start it up and make sure that it is running well.  If you don't know how, have a service technician come get it ready for winter. They can help you get your lawn mower ready for winter while they are there. 
  • Get your mower ready for winter storage. Make sure that the gas tank if full and add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. Turn on the mower and run for 5 minutes to get the stabilizer into the carburetor. Gas that sits in the carburetor over the winter can clog it  by getting sticky and will provide you with  an expensive service call in the spring. Change the oil in the mower and fill with clean new oil. Check, clean or replace your air filter and fuel filter according to your owner's manual.   Scrape the underside of the mower deck and get all of the grass clippings and dirt off of the underside. Hose it off and then spray all fo the blades and the underside with a silicone spray to keep it cleaner next year. During the winter, periodically charge the battery throughout the winter,  if your mower or tractor has a battery-powered starter system. Otherwise, it will fail much sooner because it will not hold a full charge. Unlike your car, mower engines can not fully recharge your battery while mowing.  Check your spark plugs. They will need to be replaced after 100 hours of running time. Place a cup of mothballs near the engine to keep mice from setting up house there. 
  • Kids Bikes: Clean all of the dirt and grime off of them with the hose. Oil the chain, and make sure that the tires are fully inflated before storing. 
Once the garage is all organized, give the garage a good sweep out and hose the floor to remove all of the summer's dirt and bugs.  You are now prepared for winter.


Anonymous said...

Great tips!
I've actually done most of these because I'm starting to see a little snow on the mountains.
Tomorrow I get to tackle my garage so I can park in it!

kyslp said...

Thanks for the timely post! I may not get all this done right away but I'm going to start. We always put everything off till the last minute. (Or don't do it at all.)

Michelle said...

Yikes! While I'm with you on the furnace safety, I'm definitely not ready to think about sn*w or sh*v*ls yet! I'm in just a little bit of denial over here....