I believe we have officially entered that time of year, where temperatures can go from freezing to 75 all in 24 hours.  That in itself is quite the feat since so many parts of the country (and world) don't experience such large temperature changes between day and night.  Before that first hard freeze sneaks up on us, there are several things you can do to help get your house and yard ready for winter.

  1. Check your furnace - Turn it on before you need it.  Test it out, make sure it works the way it is supposed to.  Also, change that filter to make sure you are breathing clean air!
  2. Check outside faucets - Make sure all your exterior faucets are either covered, in the ground, frost free, or any other fancy winterization faucet they sell.  Local hardware stores have the freeze protector "cups" you can use to cover faucets and help insulate them to protect them.  Disconnect water hoses so any freezing that goes on inside them does not back up into the faucet and crack it.
  3. Yard work - clean up the yard one last time and be thankful things (weeds) are starting to die.  Get rid of (pull, mow, hack, etc) any and all weeds before the big winds come.  If we each do our part, there will be a few less tumble weeds blowing around this winter.  Cut back lavender bushes after they have died for the winter (HERE is a helpful easy website).  In the winter, trees grow their root system so be sure to water them every so often if they don't get any natural moisture (snow).
  4. Check your house - Make sure all windows are shutting properly and are not drafty.  Same goes with doors.  A good way to test this is to take a burning incense around and see if there are any major drafty areas.  Xcel Electric also offers a program free to check your home for energy efficiency.  Take advantage of the resources around you. They also have a great list of winter energy saving tips.
  5. Check all alarms - smoke alarms, carbon-monoxide, etc and change those batteries.
  6. Don't forget about the pets! Make sure all pets have adequate protection from weather and a heat source.  The almanac says its going to be a cold, wet winter!