As you enjoy the beauty of the fall leaves, and as the last of the warmer days turns to crisp cooler air, please do not forget to do a few things inside and outside your home to prepare for winter.
1. Set up an annual inspection on your furnace and gas fireplace each fall to help prevent unexpected breakdowns and frozen pipes during the worst of the winter months.
2. Unhook any hoses and drain any outdoor faucets so they do not freeze. Be sure to drain the hoses, too, and store them inside your garage or shed.
3. Check doors and windows for air leaks. Taking a few minutes in the fall to check weather stripping and wrapping plastic around any leaky windows could save you hundreds of dollars on your energy bills during the cold months.
4. If you have a sprinkler system in your yard, drain it completely and prepare it for winter.
5. Rake up leaves before the snow flies. You will thank yourself come springtime.
6. Clean leaves and debris out of the eaves and downspouts to keep the water flowing and avoid having them plug up.
7. Trim your landscaping to keep bushes and branches from touching your siding and roof. Check around the foundation to be sure the ground is properly graded away from the house to prevent water from going into your basement.
8. Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, purchase one to protect your loved ones from toxic poisonous gas.
9. If you do not already know, learn where the main shut off valve is on your water, and be sure everyone in the family knows, too, in case of an emergency.
10. Have your chimney cleaned before you use it to ensure that everything is up to snuff to avoid an unexpected fire or smoke damage inside your home.
11. Check your fire extinguisher’s expiration date. Have one that works for grease in your kitchen.
12. Have a family plan and practice where to meet outside your home if something happens such as a fire or gas leak where you have to get out quickly.
Sonja Ziemann of Sonja Ziemann Insurance Agency can be reached at 507-581-1096, ziemanninsurance.com or on Facebook.