Brr! Here comes the chill!

The weatherman tells me it’s going to drop to 28 degrees tonight. Yikes! Time to cover some plants and bring the pots in.

The temps are expected to rise again this weekend, but this is still as good a time as any to get our house ready for winter. If you haven’t gone through your house yet, here’s a handy checklist to help you get started.

1. Change your furnace filters and have your unit inspected if it’s older.
2. Check your windows and doors for worn, cracked or missing caulk and weatherstripping. You can do this by walking around your windows and doors with a candle. Replace the weatherstripping if necessary. It’s also good to give your windows a cleaning before winter starts, since sunshine is at a premium in dark winter months.
3. If you use a real fireplace, get your chimney inspected and cleaned. If you use space heaters, make sure those are in good working order. Test both your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector while you’re at it.
4. Burst pipes suck. Insulate vulnerable pipes in your crawlspace, and don’t forget outdoor spigots.
5. If you have storm windows, now is the time to take down your screens and put them up.
6. If you have ceiling fans, switch the direction of the blades and turn them on low to encourage warm air to circulate down to where you need it most.
7. Check and clean your gutters. All those fallen leaves can clog them quickly, which can cause a spectacular amount of water damage when the water finds a new route. (because it will, and you won’t know until the ceiling comes crashing down)
8. If you’ve got a little extra time and cash, consider adding insulation to your attic. We did this a couple years back and it made a huge difference in our heating bill.
9. Last, but not least, pull out those sweaters, fleecy throw blankets and warm slippers. Wrap yourself up and get cozy instead of turning up the thermostat.
10. Bonus round: If you suffer from SAD in these dark months, try to make sure you get at least 15 minutes out in some bright sunshine, or in front of a sunlamp each day. You can also invest in some pretty candles or a set of gas logs. Some people find fire helps their mood, plus it’s just pretty!

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