Despite warm day, winter weather approaching fast

Monday, October 24, 2011

The first frost arrived right on time, and despite today's predicted 80-degree highs, late October weather will return by mid-week. Can snow and cold be far behind?

With family budgets continuing to feel the effects of recession, and energy prices continuing to climb, a small investment of time and money can pay off over the coming months of winter.

There's still time to prepare before winter sets in in earnest.

For your furnace:

* Call in a professional to check it for winter.

* Make sure you have plenty of furnace filters on hand and change them monthly.

* Consider installing a programmable thermostat. They're relatively inexpensive and can make a big difference.

* Make sure flammable material is removed from the area around the furnace.

If you have a fireplace:

* Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.

* Consider calling a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.

* Stock up on firewood, and store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.

* Make sure the damper opens and closes properly.

* Check the motar between the bricks and tuckpoint if necessary.

Around the house:

* Check for cracks around pipes and seal them.

* Weatherstrip around doors and caulk around windows to prevent cold air from entering the home.

* Replace cracked glass and if you wind up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.

* If your home has a basement, consider protecting window wells by covering them with plastic shields.

On your roof:

* Consider adding extra attic insulation.

* Clean gutters and check flashing to make sure water can't enter your home.


* Drain gas from lawnmowers later in the year, but get your snow blower tuned up and ready to go. Stock up on sidewalk salt for icy days.

In the house:

* Make sure your smoke detectors are working, and install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace or water heater.

As to water:

* Drain all garden hoses, insulate exposed plumbing pipes, and make sure you know where the main water shutoff valve is.

Around the yard:

* Trim trees and branches that may be too close to electrical lines and your house.

* Plant spring flower bulbs and pull bulbs that cannot winter over.

Prepare an emergency kit:

* Buy indoor candles and matches or lighter for use during a power shortage.

* Find phone numbers for utilities and keep them handy.

* Store bottled water and other non-perishable food supplies, including pet food, if you have a pet.

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