Freeport 815-235-2111 — Galena 779-214-0461 — Galena Territory 815-777-3100

There is a chill in the air and the leaves are changing color signaling that soon winter will be upon us. If the Farmer’s Almanac is correct, and I hope it isn’t, we are in for another nasty winter! If you are a homeowner, there are things you should be doing now to prepare for whatever winter has in store for us.

Right now you are probably mowing your yard for one of the last times this year and getting ready to rake all those leaves, but that shouldn’t be the end of your yardwork. Fall is a good time to lay down new grass seed and once it starts to come up you can add fertilizer. If your lawn is healthy before winter you will have less weeds in the spring. You should also add a fresh layer of mulch, but not more than 3 inches, to your planting beds to help protect the roots of your plants. Fall is also the time to plant those spring bulbs so you can enjoy those early blooms next year.

Now is also the time to cover or put away your patio furniture and grill before the snow flies. Make sure to give both a good final cleaning so they will be fresh and ready for use in the spring. This is also the time to make sure your gutters have a final clean out before they get filled up with ice and cause damage. Drain and store your outdoor hoses and shut off the water to the spigot to prevent the pipes from freezing. When all the yard work is complete, clean and store your mower and other yard tools in the garage or storage shed. Check your outside lights and replace bulbs as needed since it will be getting dark much earlier now and you don’t want to come home to a dark house.

If you park your car in the garage this is a good time to sweep it out and make sure things are out of the way so you have room to get your cars in. Make sure the garage door can open and close freely and nothing is in the way of the electric eyes, if you have an electric opener. Find your snow shovels and make sure your snow blower is ready to start and that you have gas in the tank. Ice scrapers and snow brushes should be located and put in your cars now too so you don’t have to try to find them the first day is snows.

There are also some things to prepare inside the house as well. Check around doors and windows for any holes or gaps that you can repair now to keep the cold air out. If you have window air conditioners either remove them from the windows or put covers on them to prevent heat loss.

Have your furnace serviced and change the filter so it is in good working order when the temperature drops. Now is also a good time to clean out your dryer vent if you haven’t done that in a while. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed.

If you have a fireplace that uses a chimney, have the chimney cleaned before you burn any wood to make sure it is safe to use. Finally, if you use space heaters or portable heaters of any kind make sure they are in good working order, that they are far away from anything flammable and that you only use them as directed. If not used properly and watched carefully they can be very dangerous and a fire hazard.

Ready or not winter is coming and after last year’s winter you need to be prepared for the worst. Taking the time now to do some maintenance and clean up inside and outside your home will pay off when the wind is howling and the snow is coming down and you can relax in your safe, warm winter-ready home.

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