Spring cleaning gets all the attention, but it’s also important to prep your house once the weather starts turning colder. With a few changes, you can help maintain the quality of your home throughout fall and winter.
Store Your Lawn Furniture
Unfortunately, the time for sitting out on the porch and drinking iced tea is over. But that doesn’t mean you can leave your patio furniture exposed to the elements all winter long.
Before storing, make sure you clean the furniture. This means wiping down hard surfaces with a sponge dipped in warm soapy water, and following label instructions for any seat cushions.
Storing your lawn furniture inside is the safest bet, but if you don’t have the room for it, you can always store everything outside—with the proper protection, of course. Measure your furniture and buy weatherproof covers. Place seat cushions in plastic bags and store them in an outdoor storage chest or in your home.
Check out our in-depth post for more instructions.
Weatherproof Doors and Windows
Those drafty windows and doors are costing you extra money to heat your house, and causing unwelcome cold spots.
Vinyl or rubber weather stripping can be an affordable way to keep your door sealed up. These can be installed with nails or staples. If you want something a little less permanent, you can always try a removable draft guard instead.
For a truly low-tech approach, you can always buy a snake, which is a fabric tube filled with sand. These block out cold air from the bottom of your door pretty effectively, and you can always store them in the spring.
Window film protection is a great way to keep your windows from letting out too much heat. The directions vary slightly from product to product, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Winterize Your Lawn Mower
If you have a gas-powered lawn mower, there are a few steps you can take to make sure it’s ready for winter. This process will help keep your mower in good shape for many years to come.
First, empty the gas tank. Siphon off the gas into a can until the mower appears to be empty. Then start the mover and let the residual gas burn off until the fuel lines are completely dry.
Disconnect the spark plug to keep the mower from kick-starting accidentally. Then, put on thick gloves, flip the mower over, and disconnect the mower blade.
Does your lawn mower have a 4-cycle engine? If so, you’ll need to change the oil. Be sure to put down a tarp, because this process can get a little messy. Remove the oil reservoir plug and carefully drain the oil into a pan. You can replace the oil with products recommended in your lawn mower’s product manual.
Next, clean up the undercarriage to prevent rust and remove debris. A putty knife or wire brush will work well for this.
If you mower has a paper air filter, replace it. If it has an oil-soaked sponge filter, clean it with soap and water, allow it to dry completely, and then add a little fresh oil to the surface before putting it back in.
Fix Cracked Driveways and Sidewalks
When water freezes inside a small concrete crack, it can actually make the crack bigger. Fix the concrete now, while the ground is still dry.
You can fix small cracks with a bit of acrylic latex concrete repair and a putty knife. For cracks more than half an inch wide, you’ll need something more substantial, such as a vinyl concrete patching compound. Apply the compound with a trowel and dry to keep it smooth and level. You’ll want to wait a day before walking on the treated area, and a full three days before driving on it. Always make sure to follow the product directions for the best results.