Caulking around windows is a great place to start the winterizing process. Caulk should be put around all window frames to stop heat loss. A few tubes of caulk will do the trick in this area. Consult your handy hardware store for the right kind to get and the proper way to apply it to your windows.
It’s not time to do this next job, but a little preliminary effort will save a lot of work later. Unhook all your garden hoses from their respective spigots. Check to make sure you can completely shut off the flow of water from each spigot. If it drips, it could freeze and become a real mess next spring. Sometimes, just tightening the packing screw in the middle of the handle will stop the flow; if not, the hose bib may need to be replaced to prevent any freezing from occurring. Your hardware store has little styrofoam covers for hose bibs that help insulate them from freezing for less than five dollars; cover them.
Next, go around and ensure that you know how to turn off your sprinkler system and drain it for the winter. Don’t do it yet as your yard still needs to be watered, but make sure you know how to service it for winter.
If you have any storm windows to be put up, locate them and make sure little ones didn’t break them over the summer so that, if they are broken, you will have time to get them re-glazed before winter starts to howl down the driveway.
You might have your friendly furnace company come out and do an inspection of your heating system, including changing the furnace filter. These experts will be able to tell if you will have problems with your furnace during the upcoming winter. It’s a minor adjustment that will save you money on your power bill for sure.
If you do these little jobs annually you may discover that there is little to do each year as you’ve done a thorough job every year and kept up with the work load.
While you’re at it and having just done a super job on the house, why not check out your cars. You can get a little antifreeze tester for less than $5 at any auto parts store and check your antifreeze level. Check the fan belts for age and wearing. If they are old they might snap. They might also not charge your battery the way they should and that will mean a dead battery just when you don’t need one. Have your battery checked as well. Maybe it’s old and on its last legs and you won’t know it until you have it checked. It might work fine for a while, but when it gets cold out it might go south just when you or your pocket book don’t need that.
When was the last time you had your oil changed? Maybe it doesn’t need to be done now, but if you do it before the cold weather hits, you probably won’t have to do it again until spring. Check the air filter too. A dirty air filter can eat up you gas mileage.
Check your tires. Most tires are rated as M and S, which means mud and snow, so check for proper inflation and overall general condition of the tires. If you like studded tires, in Nevada they’re legal from October to April and then you have to take them off to prevent wear on the street pavement. Some people put snow tires all around their vehicle. That is not necessary. If you use snow tires, they should go on the driving wheels of your car.
Check your windshield fluid and top it off. Don’t just top it off; check to see that the windshield fluid squirts and does so where it is supposed to go. At the same time, check your windshield wipers and replace them if they are broken. Worn out windshield wipers can cause permanent damage to the glass on your windshield, not to mention the fact that they don’t clean your windows when full of water and gunk. Windshield wipers in Nevada are lucky if they last a year with all our clear, hot, sunshine days. Sunlight is a definite enemy of windshield wipers.
All of the above should keep you busy for one weekend at least. Football season hasn’t ramped up yet so you should have time to do it all before that happens again. So get going, get ‘er done and then you can enjoy football and watch the snowflakes fly with no worry in the world, except of course when the neverending honey-dos crop up again.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.