1. Time to Stow that Mow...errrrr!

Two Words: Fuel Stabilizer.  If your mower sits for months with gas in the tank, it will start to deteriorate and damage the internal parts of the engine.  You can protect from this with a $10 bottle of stabilizer.  This way, you can keep your mower in good condition over the winter.

Another mower tip is to cool and remove the spark plug the pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. After, pull the starter cord a couple times to distribute the oil.  This will keep the pistons lubricated and ensure an easy start in the springtime. Lastly, turn the mower on its side and clean out the grass and debris from the mower deck, finish and stow. Goodnight Mower til spring!

2.  Secure your hoses..

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and plumbing.  Doing this can result in cracked pipes, water damage and lots of "green" spent on your end! Don't gamble with the weather. If the water does freeze and expand...it's already too late.

3. Give your sprinklers a long break

Drain your irrigation systems.  Even deep buried systems can freeze, which again, leads to broken pipes and sprinkler heads. It's pretty simple:

Turn off the water to the main valve, then shut off the automatic controller. Once complete open the drain valves to remove water from the system. Once you've drained the water completely from the system, remove any above ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out.  If you don't have valves, then you may need to hire a pro to blow out the pipes with compressed air.  It may cost you a little bit of money, but it's well worth the time & money spent!  

4. Caulk your Cracks

Purchase a couple of tubes of colored caulk to match your exterior color then walk around your home and seal the cracks between the trim, window frames, door frames, and entry points of cables, pipes & vents. This is one of the simplest and most important jobs you can do to ensure you're not wasting energy this winter.

5. Get your head in the Gutter!

Clogged rain gutters may be one of the jobs you dread most, but they can be one of the costliest repairs if left undone. These can cause ice dams to form which often lead to expensive repairs, not just at the gutters & roof, but the attic, ceilings of your rooms and even the walls and floors!  So make this a priority; After all the leaves have fallen, remove the leaves, and other debris- including the gunk that forms from the gutters and flush them out with a hose. Make sure your gutters aren't sagging; tighten gutter hangers and downspouts.  If you find any colored sand or grit it is most likely from your shingles.  If you find enough of this, it may be time to replace the roof or at the very least have it inspected by a professional.  Click here for Recommended Roofers in Champaign/Urbana

*Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet from your home to prevent foundation problems

6. Raise the roof!

Look for warning signs of damage or any loose or missing shingles.  If shingles are missing, you should replace immediately.  Black algae stains are normal, but masses of moss could be a sign that a roof is decaying underneath.  If you do find moss, call a roofer for an evaluation. 

You'll also want to check your plumbing vent stack, which is usually lined with a rubber collar (called a boot) that may crack or loosen.  They will definitely wear out before your roof does.  So check it annually to ensure it's not cracked or loose.

7. Drains

Look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your home at least 6 vertical inches and ideally over ten feet away.  This way, you'll keep water from soaking the soil around the foundation, which often leads to cracks and leakage.   

8. Check your furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling professional before winter. These checks should take place annually.  Make sure to check the filters, which should be replaced every 2 months. If your HVAC includes a humidifier, make sure to replace this filter as well. Remember, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. Don't put your lives at risk! Get your HVAC checked at regular intervals.

 

9. Prune the plants

Late fall is the best time to prune your plants.  The goal is to keep branches 3 feet from your house, so moisture doesn't continually drip on your roof and home during the winter and damage your home.  

10. Check your fireplace

This is important for safety.  Grab a flashlight and take a peek inside.  Make sure the damper opens and closes properly.  Look into the flue to make sure it's free of birds, nests, branches and any other obstructions.  Check for missing or cracked bricks and replace damaged ones immediately. Next check for creosote buildup and clean your chimney thoroughly. Because creosote is a dangerous & highly flammable substance, using a certified Chimney Sweep is highly recommended.   

 

 More Winterizing Tips Below  

For more Home Maintenance Tips give me a call or visit my website at www.champaignrose.com.