Whether you’re a Colorado native or just moved here, chances are you know just how cold winter can get here. There is nothing better than sitting inside your home on a snowy winter day, or spending the day skiing in the mountains on some fresh powder.
However, waking up on a Sunday freezing cold because it snowed last night and your heater didn’t kick on, and naturally all of the heating companies are closed until Monday – now that is a nightmare no one wants to experience.
Here is everything you need to do before winter comes to make sure you can enjoy the cold weather knowing you’re prepared.
1. Check Attics and Crawl Spaces
Attics and crawl spaces should be some of the most insulated areas in your home, because they are the easiest points for cold air and moisture to get into your home.
During the summer months, leaks in the roof and walls can allow water to get into your home, which can cause mold or mildew and other problems.
Repairing holes in insulation itself is also important, and can save you money on heating and electric bills.
2. Schedule Furnace Maintenance
Furnace checkups are a must before the winter months start. Cooler temperatures mean that you’ll have to start your heater back up, and chances are you haven’t looked at it since you turned it off. Who wants to think about a heater when its 90º out?
Cleaning or replacing the filter is a good DIY repair, and will make sure that your furnace can work properly.
Another reason to schedule maintenance before winter is in full swing is that typically the cost of an appointment is lower during off-season. As soon as the colder weather starts, prices typically are higher – because people need heat and will pay more for it on colder days.
3. Clean Up Indoors
While this isn’t going to make or break your home – it is a good idea to clean up after a long summer to get ready for winter.
Having windows and screen doors open to keep your house cool also allows dust and insects to get in. Dusting, vacuuming, sweeping and disinfecting everything is a good way to check for insects at the same time as cleaning the house.
Getting rid of dust will clear out a lot of dirt that can cause allergies, helping you stay healthy during cough and cold season.
4. Prepare Your Yard
Make a checklist of things to winterize and put away outdoors:
Turn off & disconnect garden hoses and spigots
Put a tarp over firewood piles to keep them dry & ready to use
Clean & put away patio furniture to protect it from snow, stains and weathering
Re-seal wooden decks and patios to keep them from warping or rotting
Blow out the sprinkler system – this will keep your sprinkler lines from freezing & bursting or leaking
5. Clear Out Gutters
During the fall, leaves and other debris get caught in gutters and drains, and can clog them with wet, moldy gunk.
Clearing out the gutters once the leaves have stopped falling will help the snowmelt drain properly. Since Colorado has such a variety of weather, it could snow all night and be sunny and warm by the morning, meaning the snow will melt quickly.
Clean drainage systems away from your home will allow the snowmelt to divert away from your home, lessening the chances of pooling around the foundation of your home, or broken gutters.
6. Check Windows and Doors
Windows and doors that have removable screens should be replaced with storm windows and glass. Changing out screens for glass will help insulate your home, keep water and snow out, and deter pests and insects from getting indoors.
Replace weather stripping around doors and windows if it is cracked or getting worn out. If you can’t tell if it needs to be replaced, close the door or window and put your hand against the crack. If you feel a draft or cooler air, it should be replaced.
This will also help lower your heating bills by keeping warm air in and cold air out!
7. Stock Up on Shovels and De-icer
When it finally snows, you’ll want to be prepared, especially with ways to get rid of the snow. Making sure that your snow shovels are easily accessible (like in the garage) is a great idea, that way you don’t have to trek through the snow in your PJ’s to the shed.
Getting a bag of de-icer, kitty litter or sand is another precaution that you’ll be thankful you took. When the news predicts a big snowstorm overnight, you can put it out on the driveway and sidewalk to help you grip walking out the car, or backing out of the driveway.
8. Tune Up the Snow Blower
Snow blowers are a luxury, but many people in Colorado have invested in them to save time and aching backs from shoveling. If you don’t have one, consider getting one for houses with big driveways or a lot of surrounding sidewalk.
If you already have a snowblower, get it out and get it running while the weather is still nice out.
There is nothing worse than getting ready to use it and realizing it won’t start.
Let the snowblower run until it runs out of any left-over gas from last winter, and then refill it with some new fuel.
Don’t fill it all the way up until you need it though, so that you can avoid the fuel crystallization from sitting too long without being used.
A helpful tip is to keep the snowblower and extra tank of gas in the garage, so that it is warmed up and easily accessible when it’s time to use it.