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Top Ten Tasks to Get Ready for Winter
December 31, 2020

The first day of winter was December 20th. Yes, we’ve hit January but there’s still time to do those important tasks to get ready for the winter season. Here are the top 10 things we, at the Taylor Brauer Realty Group, suggest for you to do now.


  1. Swap out gas in small engines.

Did you know that leaving gas in your small engine can gum up the carburetor in just a few months? So you don’t have to purchase a new carburetor in spring, simply suck out any gas from the tank using a turkey baster and then run the engine dry. Contributing editor of the Family Handyman, Josh Risberg, suggests adding a bit of non-oxygenated gas, which has a longer shelf life but is too expensive to burn all year. I also add a splash of fuel stabilizer and run the engine for a while on the good stuff before storing it.”

  1. Disconnect and drain garden hoses.

Avoid major water issues by taking care of your outdoor faucets. Connected hoses trap water inside. When this water freezes it can bust the hose and faucet. The pipe behind the faucet can also burst.  You can purchase outdoor faucet covers to further protect them at home improvements stores for under $3.00 each.


  1. Clean attic venting. Check inside attic for critters.

Poor attic ventilations can cause many issues in the winter months, including ice dams (thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves), and summer months, including increased cooling costs, potential for mold growth and the reduction of shingle life expectancy. You can easily clean the vents located in your soffits with a leaf blower or compressed air.  Make sure your trees are trimmed well away from your home, your gable vents are intact, and no holes in your soffit and fascia. It’s always a good idea to install screen behind your gable vent.


  1. Check on chimney and/or hire a chimney sweep.

Professional recommend having your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected after every 70 fires (or after 50 if using wet wood—which you shouldn’t use). Burning wood creates creosote build up which causes chimney fires. An easy way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fire poker along the chimney liner. If you find an 1/8” or more buildup, then call a professional to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.


  1. Take care of your flower pots. Don’t rake your leaves. Winterize your gas grill.

Moist soil inside pots can expand when frozen and cause pots to break. To avoid this, take in your pots for the winter or you can cover them (to keep the soil dry) or empty them. Leave your leaves where them are and go over them with a mulching lawn mower. Leaves and grass clippings add valuable organic matter to your lawn. If you don’t winter grill, move your grill inside after giving it a thorough cleaning.  Coat burners and other metal parts in oil to prevent rust. Wrap in plastic to prevent bugs.


  1. Clean gutters and check your drainage.

Clogged gutters can back up, overflow and send water down your home’s exterior and speed up deterioration---exterior, foundation, basement and concrete porches and walks. Make sure all water is getting moved away from the home. Saturate soils around a home’s foundation can freeze, expand and cause issues.


  1. Seal up masonry and hard surfaces. Paint, caulk and seal exterior wood.

Repair any broken joints or cracks in walkways, steps, etc. Make sure your exterior wood is protected from the weather. The wood trim around windows is not typically pressure-treated or rot-resistant wood and can deteriorate quickly. Replacement can be expensive and it’s much more cost effective to not let it rot in the first place. If the paint or caulk is cracking, scrape away the bad parts and apply fresh.


  1. Add insulation, caulk windows, doors and storm windows (to cut down on heating costs).

Keep your home energy costs in check by making your home more energy-efficient.


  1. Call in an arborist to check your trees.


Make sure trees are healthy and none in a position to fall on yours or your neighbors home.  Here are some signs a tree is dying: brown and brittle bark or cracks, few healthy leaves left, an abundance of dead wood, host to critters and fungus, signs of root damage, development of sudden or gradual lean, fails the scratch test (a healthy trees should be green not brown and dry).


  1. Get your home’s heating and air conditioning systems inspected. Do a home energy audit.


Most heating and air systems will last 12 to 15 years. It’s recommended that systems are given an annual check-up by an HVAC professional. At a minimum, change out your filters. You can hire a professional to conduct a home energy audit. Make sure you are not seeing daylight around exterior doors. You can also take a can of foam insulation to fill around drafty outlets and light switches.



Bonus: Lube your car in 4 critical places


All you need is dry Teflon spray, spray lithium grease, a rag and glass cleaner.

  1. Start with the window channels. Lower the window glass and shoot dry Teflon spray down the front, rear and top window channels on each door. Soak the channels. Then run the window up and down several times to spread the lube. Finally, raise the window and clean off any overspray with glass cleaner.
  2. Then shoot the door and trunk/hatch lock cylinders with dry Teflon spray. Use the spray straw to force the lock ‘door’ open. Then inject a quick shot into the lock cylinder. Insert your key and rotate the lock to spread the lube.
  3. Next, coat all the weather stripping with dry Teflon spray. Then spread it with a cloth. Finish the job by lubing the hood, trunk or tailgate latches with lithium grease. Then spray the door hinges. Operate the latches and doors several times to spread the grease.

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