Cold weather will be here before we know it. Because we had such a long, sweltering summer here in Central Virginia, a little brisk weather is a nice relief. There’s nothing like donning a light jacket for a walk, or sipping a hot cup of coffee, tea or cocoa to take off the chill early in the morning or after the sun goes down.
While we are enjoying the beginning of sweater weather and autumn leaves, now is the time to take care of a few things to get ready for the teeth-chattering cold of winter on the horizon. Below are several tips to help you get yourself and your house ready for the dip in temperatures.
Seasonal Home Maintenance
Brandermill Woods residents enjoy maintenance-free living. They’ve traded in the rake and the snow shovel and are spending their free time taking fitness classes, dropping in on happy hours, and pursuing all the things they’ve always wanted to do.
The rest of us, meanwhile, have to take care of our houses so we don’t wake up one winter morning with no heat, or have a dead lawn come spring. Here are five home-maintenance chores to knock out now as we get ready for cold weather:
- Check or change the batteries in your smoke detector. Time change in the spring and fall is the cue to remember this critical task.
- Fertilize your lawn. You may have aerated and put down a fall fertilizer in late September, but another dose of fertilizer in November or December will help the roots strengthen for the freeze.
- Winterize your sprinklers. Turning off the water is a good first step, but to really protect your lines from freezing, you should use an air compressor to blow the water out of underground lines.
- Have your HVAC system checked. It’s prudent to have a professional inspect your system in the spring and fall to look for any potential problems. The professional will look at electrical connections, belts, hoses, or other parts that may wear out. Now is also a good time to change your air filters if you haven’t done that recently.
- De-scale your hot water heater. If you have a tankless hot water heater, it should be cleaned annually with a solution of vinegar. The process takes about an hour and will extend the life of your system.
Seasonal ‘Health Maintenance’
Just like you want to do preventive maintenance on your house to keep everything running, you should take some time this season to take care of your body. After all, you can replace everything in your house if it goes bad, but you only get one body. Here are five “health maintenance” tips for late fall:
- Get a flu shot. You’ve gotten a flu shot already, right? If not, put this at the top of your to-do list. Not only will you help protect yourself against a serious winter ailment, you’ll also be participating in “herd immunity” to protect others, particularly babies who are too young to get a flu vaccine.
- Adjust your exercise routine. Athletes know training is seasonal, but all of us benefit from mixing up our routine every few months to keep us excited about exercise. Try taking a new fitness class or learning a new sport this winter.
- Eat your fruits and veggies. Again, we should be doing this all year long. The beauty of life in the 21st century is that so many fresh fruits and vegetables are available all year long. Take advantage of it.
- Stay hydrated. Heat stroke isn’t a concern in the winter, but dehydration is. Without the heat to remind us, we may forget to drink plenty of water.
- Check your numbers. If you haven’t had a physical in a while, schedule an appointment to have your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and other biometrics checked. Even if you’re in excellent health, monitoring your numbers annually will give you a baseline—and will help you stay on top of anything that changes.