The leaves are falling from the trees, the air is crisp, and the temperature is dropping. Autumn is in the air, which means it’s time to prepare the home and garden for winter. Simple preparations can make the home more energy efficient and safe over the winter months. By properly preparing the garden, less effort and expense will be needed once spring arrives. Cleaning and insulating can easily prepare and protect a home from winter damage as well as increase energy efficiency.
Heating systems should be examined, cleaned, and tested before the temperature drops too low. The furnace and ducts should be checked for leaks or damage, and tested for carbon monoxide prior to use. The filter should be changed and vents should be clean and debris-free for maximum efficiency. Additional energy savings may be obtained by installing a programmable thermostat, to allow for heat adjustments when away from the home.
Autumn is also the time to prepare the outdoor components of the home. Leaves and debris should be removed from gutters and downspouts. Roofing should be examined for damage and repaired accordingly. Garden hoses should be disconnected and stored for winter. Decks or patios should be sealed if needed, and patio furniture should be covered to ensure its durability for the upcoming season.
Energy waste during the winter months is especially prevalent in homes with insufficient insulation. Caulking, weather-stripping, or otherwise insulating drafty windows and doorways can greatly increase energy efficiency.
The home isn’t the only investment that needs tending prior to winter. Many people put a lot of hard work into their gardens and that work should not go to waste due to a lack of winter preparation.
Weeds, mulch, dead stems, fallen foliage, and annual plants should be cleared out to prevent disease and insects. Warmer climates should divide and transplant perennials and plant cold-resistant bulbs for spring bloom. Delicate plants and bulbs should be dug up, trimmed, dried, and stored indoors for winter.
Plants remaining in the ground should be trimmed down, thoroughly watered, and covered with mulch as a form of protection and to keep the soil temperature even and controlled. Tall plants, small trees, and shrubs should be wrapped in burlap or cardboard, metal, or plastic cylinders and then filled with mulch to protect them through freezing weather.
Taking a few steps to winterize the home and garden can prevent loss from winter damage. Burst pipes or starting a garden from scratch can become extremely expensive. Investing a little time and money prior to winter can help prevent the unnecessary expense and time spent during and after winter.