Preparing for Winter

Out of all the seasons, fall is in my opinion Michigan’s most beautiful time of year.  It’s when we see families gathering at the cider mill, playing on straw bales, and pondering their way through corn mazes.  As Michiganders we go on long drives when there’s nothing to do, just to see the fall colors of auburn, red, orange, and yellow leaves.  An annual painting we receive every year for free with the changing of seasons.  Unfortunately all good things come to pass which is when the real work begins like a squirrel preparing for winter.    

This past weekend I was one of those squirrels feverishly attempting to get all of my fall chores completed before snow starts to arrive, more immediate was the pending wind storm we were about to endure.  The one staple fall chore we all usually remember and feel that sense of accomplishment completing is raking/blowing/bagging those once beautiful leaves, but now a brown, sometimes wet mess in our yards.  Sadly this is only the tip of the iceberg of preparing your home for winter.  Below are my top 5 Winterization tasks, but definitely not the only ones.  Remember everybody’s home is built different and has its own nuances.

  1. Check your gutters to make sure they are clear of leaves and other debris.  This will help prevent ice damming which ultimately lead to those dreaded roof leaks during the winter time.  If possible check and make sure your soffit vents are clear of insulation.
  2. Protect any plumbing that may be exposed to the cold.  For example, if you have a crawl space under your home that’s not insulated or put insulated covers over your outside faucets.
  3. Check the exterior of your home for any cracks/gaps where cold air can get in and use the appropriate caulk (generally you want something paintable).  For old drafty windows try using plastic window film to seal out that cold air.
  4. Have your furnace inspected, serviced, and replace your air filter.  A cracked heat exchanger in your furnace can leak carbon monoxide into your home.
  5. Lastly, make sure you program your thermostat, it’ll save you money.  I bought a new smart thermostat that not only is programmable, but it also knows when we are home or away (yes that’s scary) in the event our schedules change.

And after all this hard work getting ready for winter, it’ll be time to start those interior projects we’ve been putting off because the weather was nice.  Remember, no rest for the weary!

Tim Wisser, Facilities Crew Leader

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