The clocks have changed and the temperatures are falling. Take a moment to be sure you’re ready for the winter.
Check the condition of your front path, steps, and exterior lighting. It is easy to become accustomed to your own home. Step back and look at the front of your home in the dark objectively. Is the path in good condition? Is the railing secure? Do you have light fixtures that need repair? Do you need more light? Consider where motion or light sensors might help by providing light when it’s needed automatically.
The biggest homeowner nightmare in the dead of winter is frozen pipes. Reduce your risk. Shut off the water to the hose bib and drain the tap. Take note of where you have plumbing fixtures against exterior walls. If the temperature is consistently well below freezing, something as simple as opening the cabinet under a sink to let more warm room air into the space can make a big difference. If you will travel during the coldest months of the year, consider a freeze alarm. It will call you if the temperature inside your home drops too low, saving you from the costly damage.
Stock up on cold weather supplies now. Get ice melt or salt now while they are easy to find. Get a new snow shovel before the forecast sends everyone running for them at once.
If you still haven’t had your chimney cleaned since last season, call now. Also, take a little time to learn how to choose firewood properly: http://www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/how_to_select_firewood.aspx. Like any other system, your fireplace and chimney operate best over time when you use the right fuel and keep the system clean.
If you haven’t yet, start up and test the snow blower and gas generator, if you have one. Drain the gas out of the lawn mower for winter storage.
Get a jump on these things now, and you won’t have to scramble later when you would rather be huddled up out of the cold.