There’s no way to avoid it living in South Dakota. It comes every year, and it’s usually unforgiving.
The smell of winter is in the air and, in no time, the snow will be flying and the crisp cool air of fall will quickly turn to snow, ice, and frost. Coffee pots will be working overtime, and blankets will be retrieved from closets.
The cruel temperatures that are heading South Dakota’s way can be brutal, and that strain can also be felt on your house.
But if prepared, you can handle everything winter throws at you if your home is winterized properly. Not only will it make your surroundings more comfortable, getting your home winterized will also save you on your monthly utility bills during the winter months.
Winterizing your home is a series of tasks that help you get ready for the cold temps that are sure to come. It’s not only the temps that will get you and your home; it’s the freezing rain, snow, and sleet. They all can do harm to your home if you’re not prepared and winterized.
Here’s a series of tasks to help you prepare as winter bears down on South Dakota.
Cleaning gutters and downspouts – It may not seem like a huge responsibility each fall, but gutters are vital to your home’s well being. They control the rainwater flowing around your home and protect the landscape, roof, walls, and foundation.
It’s best not to ignore this annual chore. Although it may be an uncomfortable job, ignoring cleaning your gutters can turn things bad in a hurry. Leaves, sticks and other summer debris can cause water damage to the interior and exterior of your home. And when the sticks and leaves hang around, so do some unwanted guests such as rodents, mold and other infestations.
Blow out your sprinklers – This seems pretty obvious for a home in South Dakota when winter comes, but it’s easy to forget.“It’s extremely important to get this done,” said longtime home builder and maintenance professional Dave Galyen. “If you don’t get that done each fall, your pipes will freeze, and then you’ve got a real mess.” Try to get this chore done before the first freeze. When water freezes, it expands, which can crack or burst pipes.
Aerating your lawn – Thinking about your lawn may not initially register as something to do as you prepare for winter. However, in order to maintain a nice lawn, aerating your lawn in the fall is just as important as mowing, fertilizing and watering in the summer.
Aerating allows nutrients to reach the soil beneath your grass. The process is important to a healthy lawn because it allows air and water to penetrate any grass build up or lawn thatch. Take time this fall to get rid of that thatch, and make way for a spectacular lawn by aerating now.
Fertilizing your lawn – This may seem like another springtime chore, but fertilizing in the fall is important. Fall is a time when cool-season grasses recover from some of the stresses the summer weather can bring. Heat, drought, and disease can take a toll on your lawn. Fertilizing in the fall will help that grass recover, and be ready for spring.
Changing the furnace filter – Changing your furnace filter each fall will help prevent premature wear and tear on your HVAC unit. When your air filter is dirty, it becomes more difficult for air to pass through the filter. It makes sense then that the dirtier your air filter is, the harder your HVAC system is going to have to work. It’s better to replace that filter each fall than to deal with the damage that could come to your unit which would require maintenance in the spring. It’s a money-saver for sure as you decrease the likelihood of repairs and extend the life of your heating system.
Checking batteries in your smoke detector – This one has caught on over the years, but it’s always a good reminder to make these checks. It’s been made easier to remember in recent years since the International Fire Chiefs Association coupled the changing of smoke detector batteries to the changing of the season. When it’s time to change your clocks due to Daylight Savings Time, always remember it’s time to check your batteries, too.
Purchasing a carbon monoxide detector – Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, odorless and poisonous gas. On average 170 people die each year in the United States from the poisoning. Getting a detector is easy, and it saves lives.
“Nowadays they’re readily available, and they’re cheap,” Galyen said. “There’s no reason not to have one now.”
Checking weather stripping around doors – You might not think something as simple as weather stripping your doors is important, but the smallest amount of cold air coming into your home, or warm air leaving, can make a difference in your bottom line. Even though they’re just little pieces of stripping, they play a critical role in keeping your home energy efficient. Doors are a part of a larger system of materials that work together to protect and seal entrances of your home. Take the time now, weatherstrip your doors, and make your home more efficient and keep your utility bills manageable this winter.
Have questions about your home or interested in building, we invite you to contact us today!