Get Set for 'Old Man Winter' - Page 2

Winterizing checklist: how to weather the coming storms with a gust of preparation
Fridays on the Homefront
Caulking and sealant at work.
Fridays on the Homefront
Boilers are part of the recommended regular radiant heat inspection.
Fridays on the Homefront
Programmable thermostat: a good move for radiant systems.

5. Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: Any fire station is happy to remind you of the wisdom in making sure these instruments are in working order at least annually, preferably before winter blows in. Just press the unit's test button or blow out a candle nearby.

6. Inspect and caulk windows: Check the caulking and sealant around the outside of your windows and the weather-stripping on the sides and inside of your sash. Reapply, if necessary. Make sure your windows lock completely to ensure they close fully, and that the 'reveal' is even along the frame's bottom edge, indicating a good seal. Consider upgrading single-paned windows for energy efficiency.

7. Test your radiant heating and inspect the boiler: Radiant heat systems should be inspected and tuned up every year or two. This item is Eichler-specific, but other homeowners should certainly test their heaters too. All HVAC systems need periodic maintenance, including change of filters every couple months, and tune-ups by a professional every couple years. If your radiant boiler is leaking, that tune-up is overdue.

8. Install a programmable thermostat: One complaint about radiant heating is the time it takes to heat a cold house. A programmable thermostat will certainly help that. And for HVAC systems, a programmable thermostat will keep things comfortable year-round.

9. Clean your deck and yard: "For my house," Cunha says, "I usually go through the yard and make sure everything's put away." These items might include toys, furniture, hoses, grill, and mower. For the last two items, also give them a quick cleaning. And make sure to fix any broken slats in your deck.

Other pre-winter chores might include pruning and raking, fertilizing and aerating, pressure-washing your home's exterior, cleaning carpets—well, you get the idea.

While our checklist could be virtually endless, the nine points outlined above will go a long way to help you stay dry, warm, safe, and trouble-free this coming winter. With solid preparation like this, in the words of playwright Thomas Nashe, "From winter, plague and pestilence, good Lord, deliver us!"