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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: Preparing for Cold Chicago Winters

With winter fast approaching, it won’t be long until the cold weather and low temperatures are here to stay. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure your home is fully winterized. To keep your home running and reduce the amount you have to spend on repairs when the snow hits and the wind chill drops, take a look at our fall homeowner checklist.

1. Clean Your Gutters

Increasing precipitation will put your gutters to the test, so make sure they’re not clogged up with leaves and debris. If gutters remain clogged it can cause water to overflow and fall along the foundation of the building. Also, if the foundation is wet and then freezes, this can cause significant heaving and cracks.

2. Check Your Driveway

Even minor cracks in your driveway can cause major problems for your home. When water seeps into the driveway, it will gradually become uneven and less stable. If you don’t address the issue, this water could move to the foundation of your home and require costly repairs. With a little maintenance, you can prevent the need for these repairs and save yourself from some major headaches in the future.

3. Add Weather-Stripping to Your Home

If your home is full of drafts, you’ll find your energy bills during the winter will skyrocket. Weather-stripping is a quick and easy way to tackle drafts, and it’s something you can do yourself. Check every door and window for drafts and, if you find any, add weather-stripping tape to the affected area. This will prevent cold air from entering the property and minimize the amount of heat which escapes. As a result, you’ll be able to keep your home warm and cozy without spending a fortune on energy bills.

4. Make Sure All Exterior Wood Trim Is Properly Sealed

The wood trim around your exterior doors and windows is just a one-inch-thick pine board that can rot very quickly if not protected.

It’s important to keep exterior wood from rotting by keeping it properly painted and caulked. This is a prevention job most people can do themselves. Once the wood rots, however, you will likely have to call in a carpentry expert to replace the damaged areas. This could potentially cost you a lot of money.

5. Prep Your Lawn

First, make sure the soil around your foundation hasn’t settled. This can create areas for water to pool at your foundation. If you find a spot that seems as if it could cause pooling, simply fill it in with some soil.

Secondly, the cold temperatures will impact the grass but adding fertilizer can prevent this from happening. With dedicated grass protection products also available, you can ensure your lawn remains green throughout the winter months.

6. Arrange Boiler or Furnace Maintenance

You absolutely do not want to be without heat in the wintertime, so have an expert come out and check that everything is ready to go before things get really chilly. Faulty furnaces or boilers can be dangerous, so having yours checked will provide peace of mind and pretty much eliminate any risks.

When your boiler or furnace is working optimally and your air filter is changed or cleaned, you’ll spend far less on your energy bills, have better air quality and have complete control over your heating and AC systems.

7. Bring Outdoor Furniture Inside

Although outdoor furniture is designed to withstand some rain and extremely warm temperatures, this doesn’t necessarily mean it does well in sub-zero temperatures and snowstorms. Bring your outdoor furniture inside and make sure it’s stored at an appropriate temperature until you’ll be using it again. If you really don’t have the space to keep it indoors, you can try to use a waterproof furniture cover to prevent most of the damage.

8. Test Winter-Specific Equipment

If you own equipment or tools which you only use in the winter, you’ll want to check that it’s still working. There’s no use finding out your snow blower or snow plow doesn’t work in the depths of winter, so take the time to try it out now. Also, get the necessary maintenance work and repairs done on your equipment now, so you know it will be working when you actually need to use it.

9. Shut Off Exterior Faucets

If you leave exterior faucets open throughout the winter, there’s a good chance your pipes will freeze – which is a real headache. To prevent this from happening, remove any accessories, such as hoses, and shut off the exterior faucets completely. Rectifying freezing pipes can be time-consuming but shutting off the faucets doesn’t take long and will keep your pipework in excellent working condition.

10. Have Your Humidifier Serviced

Too little humidity is very common in the winter once the heat gets turned on, drying out the air and sometimes resulting in chapped lips, bloody noses and breathing issues. You don’t want too little humidity but you also don’t want too much humidity in your home.

A warm, functional whole-home humidifier can help easily keep all of the rooms in your house comfortable. You will need to make sure you change your humidifier pad/filter and that there are no leaks. If you do have a whole-home humidifier, you should definitely consider having a team of professionals come in to ensure that your system is in perfect working condition.

Keep Your Home Cozy and Warm This Winter

The experts at Althoff Industries can help you make sure that your home’s heating system is running perfectly before the weather hits the single digits. Don’t get stuck out in the cold! Give us a call at 815-900-5002, and schedule your winter maintenance appointment today.

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