Most homeowners know the major winter season preparations. They’ve spent a couple of cool Saturdays wandering around armed with weather stripping and a caulk gun. Some of them may wait a little too long after the last leaf falls to get to the gutters, but they’ll do it eventually. They know to blow out sprinklers and cover water spouts but there are a few things that they might not think of doing until they become an issue.

 

shutterstock_1526543841. CURB APPEAL

Just because most of the beautiful summer vegetation is about to settle in for its long winter’s nap, that doesn’t mean that curb appeal has to die with it. ‘Tis the season of entertaining and the outside of the home is the first thing guests will see, so keeping it appealing is just as important as it is in the summer, without all the mowing. 

Rolling out the welcome mat is a must during the fall and winter. Not only does it help keep mud and moisture outside where it belongs, it’s also a nice way to welcome visitors to your home. Check the state of doormats, clean or replace them if necessary.

Clean up gardens and flower beds by removing debris and trimming up where needed. 

Consider swapping out your annual containers for potted evergreens such as boxwood, emerald arborvitae, dwarf alberta or blue star juniper. Most grow so slowly they are perfect for bringing a little life to your porch through winter months.

With all of the rain storms this summer, our porches and windows have picked up a lot of gunk. Now is a good time to rinse everything down before putting away hoses for the season.

If you have a snowblower, make sure it’s working. If you don’t have a snowblower, make sure you have a snow shovel and that it’s in good repair. Keeping snow cleared from walkways is the law in most Colorado cities, but it also adds to the curb appeal through ease of access. There’s nothing like waiting until the first snow to realize that you don’t have a way of clearing it.

Pat Kahler, Broker Associate with RE/MAX Traditions says, “First impression is everything! Some of my clients have decided not to enter homes based on their front appearance.”

Pat recommends staging the front entry with a silk wreath on the door, some sort of wall art or a piece of furniture to welcome visitors as well as keeping the front door light on later in the day to allow for easier access and present a welcoming effect. 

2. MUD MANAGEMENT

When the plants die back and the snow is gone, homeowners are often left with large muddy areas to be traversed on the way to the mailbox or car.

If you have consistently muddy spots due to people or pet foot traffic, now may be a good time to give in and add a walkway. Gravel, pavers, stone or brick all make attractive—and relatively easy to install—paths through the mud.

Properly spaced flagstone or large pavers filled in with – ground cover such as thyme, speedwell or ice plant is a cheaper and easier way to go if you’re on a budget.

When sidewalks and pathways don’t catch it all, you’ll need a designated spot inside for wet and muddy shoes. Rubber trays, Cork floor mats, buckets or shoe shelves are just a few ideas to protect your floors from the ravages of winter.

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3. LIGHTS

The change in seasons means spending a whole lot more time in the dark. Adding outdoor lighting is both practical and attractive. Solar or hard-wire landscaping lights along pathways and steps will help increase safety during those ever earlier evenings.

Is there a dark corner where you park? Is the garage a black hole when the door closes? Install motion sensing light fixtures. They aren’t all unattractive flood lights anymore. With some of the newer decorative fixtures, you can enjoy the security and convenience without making your home look like a prison.

Change out old inefficient incandescent light bulbs for newer LED bulbs to save energy, and money, throughout the winter. Not only are LEDs coming down in price, they’re also getting better at mimicking the warmth of incandescent bulbs. If it’s been a few years since you’ve tried them, head to Ace Hardware in Longmont and see how far they’ve come.

4. HEAT

Fall is an excellent time to have your home comfort system inspected and cleaned. After the leaves have fallen and windows have been closed and sealed up in preparation for winter weather, it’s time to make sure the air inside your home is comfortable and clean. 

Inspecting and cleaning your furnace now, before it gets cold, can save you from a couple of cold nights in the busy season. 

According to Eric Meiers, President of M and M Heating & Air-conditioning,furnace repair and maintenance becomes critical before the start of the harsh, cold winters. A furnace that doesn’t operate well can lead to increased utility bills and can even pose danger to property and health. 

Beyond bill inflating inefficiency, gas and carbon monoxide leaks can be a health hazard. A proper inspection before your furnace is needed can prevent leaks from harming you and your family.

If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, install one for an added measure of safety.

shutterstock_1726986025. FIREPLACE

If you have a fireplace, make sure that it’s serviceable before using it. It’s a good idea to have the chimney professionally cleaned to prevent buildup of flammable creosote. Make sure the flue is functioning properly and check the grate. Years of heat can break down the metal, eventually causing it to give way. Screens and doors should be cleaned and checked for damage.

Even if you don’t have a fireplace you should have a fire extinguisher on hand. Make sure that they are up to date and fully charged. Older extinguishers can lose pressure and become less effective. Allstate Insurance recommends  having dry chemical extinguishers be inspected every six years and stored pressure extinguishers every 12. Ensure that they are easily accessible and that everyone in the household knows where they are and how to use them.

Keeping these five things in mind before the snow falls can save you valuable time, money and comfort later on.

– By Misty Kaiser

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