CEO, Aspirience Home Care
Not to sound like a home improvement article but, with winter just around the corner there are some tasks around the house that should be done to prepare for the bitter chill and harsh elements we typically face here in Minnesota. Especially for the our loved ones that are in their own homes and we want them to feel safe and protected.
Take just a few minutes with some basic tools to do it yourself. You’ll save money and have great satisfaction in knowing you did it yourself. So grab your toolbox, get a grip on your patience and dig in. Here are five winter tasks you might not even know you can successfully tackle:
1. Shut off outdoor water spigots: Your faucets outside can freeze and break in extreme cold if the valve inside your house isn’t turned off. This task is as easy as finding the valve and turning it to the right until it’s tight. If you don’t know where the valve is, note how many feet the faucet is from the corner of the outside wall. Then go inside (usually to the basement wall) and measure from the same corner. The valve should be high on the inside wall near the foundation. After you shut it off, go outside and turn on the spigot to drain any remaining water. Don’t forget to drain hoses and store them inside so excess water does not freeze and cause the hose to crack.
2. Change your furnace filter: It’s important to change your filter once a month in the winter when the furnace is in high gear. Doing so will help it run more efficiently, which will save you money and keep cleaner air distributing throughout the house. If you don’t know which type of filter your furnace uses, check the owner’s manual. You can also remove the filter (with the furnace turned off) and take it to the hardware store to match it up. Most filter sizes go by standard inches (example: 16 x 22) and are about 1 inch thick. Once you find the filter slot in your furnace, simply pull it out. Some furnaces have a clip that holds the filter in place. Most filters, which are inexpensive, are disposable, so toss the old one then slide the new one in its place and secure the clip.
3. Winterize your lawn mower: To make sure your mower starts in the spring, drain the remaining gas from the tank by running the mower until it stops. If you’re unable to drain the gas or have a gas/oil mix, buy additives to treat your gas so it doesn’t go bad during the winter months.
4. Get your fireplace ready: Now is a great time to give your fireplace a once over and possibly even hire a chimney sweep to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Take a good look at your damper and make sure it opens and closes properly. Also take a look at the mortar between the bricks (tuck points) inside the fireplace. If it’s crumbling or loose, arrange to have a mason make repairs. If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in a few years, make that call.
5. Install storm windows and doors: It’s important to remove your screens for the winter to allow optimum sunlight for added warmth. Replace them with storm windows and doors. Most attach easily with a screwdriver to tighten four or five screws around the edges. But they’re all different and some involve vinyl or rubber edging that, when pushed into place, seals the storm door in place. Storm windows are key to helping conserve energy, so don’t ignore this task.
6. Lastly, make sure you have good snow shovels: It never fails, when the first snow falls and you go to shovel out you don’t have a shovel that can do the job. Worse yet, by the time you go to buy one most stores are sold out.
Again, not to sound like a home improvement article but, I bring this topic up since there always seems to be some tragic home care story that hits the news during the dead of winter that could have been prevented if some precautions around the home were cared for.
It’s important to know, Aspirience Home Care can help you with your home care options by keeping your loved ones where they are most comfortable and safe at home.