Well, It’s that time of year again and it looks like it’s coming fast. Winter is coming. Whether you love it or hate the thought of it, here in the Midwest, it’s never fun dealing with solutions to problems the weather can bring when it’s happening. The good news is, these tips below will cover the most important things to do before the snow flies. A clever idea is to add these items to your online calendar in October and set the option to “every year”, this way you won’t get behind.

1. In MN, if we have a sprinkler system, we are required to have it serviced and blown out to prevent pipes freezing, but it is also a good idea to make sure all water is turned off around the house, ponds are drained and hoses are emptied and brought inside. If you do have a sprinkler system, make sure it is blown out. You don’t want your pipes to freeze!

2. Clean out dryer hoses and vents on the outside of the house. Lint gets trapped and can burn out a dryer or lead to fire. By removing lint you will also make it more efficient and save on electricity.

3. Change the furnace filter and change it every month during the winter season and FYI, you can vacuum a disposable filter once before replacing. It is a good idea to have the furnace serviced every couple of years to ensure it’s working well all winter. This will save on your heating bill, which is always a good thing.

4. In some homes, you may need to manually open the vents in the lower level to heat the space. A good idea is to remove register covers and vacuum out dust and debris to improve airflow throughout the home.

5. Test all windows and doors. Besides locking them up to keep out drafts, it is a good idea to test and see if there is air coming through or the weather stripping is worn or missing. Weatherseal is a very inexpensive option and is available in DIY home stores and online. Testing and replacing the seal can save 25-30% on wasted heat energy and this can keep your cost down.

6. Clean gutters. Ice dams can happen if gutters are full of leaves and debris. It can even tear gutters off of homes. Have your gutters cleaned or serviced and be sure to extend out far enough away from the home to keep water away from the foundation and walking areas.

7. Change out fire alarm and carbon monoxide batteries.

8. Reverse ceiling fan motors and operate in a clockwise position to draw warm air near the ceiling down to the occupied space.

9. Bring pots indoors or store in the garage. If you can’t move them, it is a good idea to remove the dirt since the expansion and contraction can cause the pots to break in very cold weather.

10. Make sure to test the snow equipment before the snow comes. Start snow blowers to ensure they are running smoothly and get out shovels and have them handy. It is not fun to have to get these things serviced or fixed when you need it most. Being prepared for this winter can give you more time to play IN the snow or more time to find a great deal on an airline ticket to a tropical getaway!