- Check your GFCI outlets (ground-fault circuit interrupter–most commonly found near water sources; ie. bathrooms, kitchens, basements) by pushing the “test” button. The “reset” button should pop out, indicating the receptacle is operating properly. Don’t forget to press in the reset button after testing.
- Check inside bathroom vanities and kitchen sink cabinets for moisture and other signs of leaks. Make sure to check for condensation and any slow leaks. Fix these ASAP–water is your home’s #1 enemy!
- Unpack and test all electrical holiday decorations. Repair or replace anything that isn’t fully functional–this is not an area to skimp on.
- Replace filters in heating system and humidifier.
- Check for air leaks around windows, doors, heat vents, etc. You can do this pretty easily by picking up a smoke stick at your local Home Depot–make notes of areas that cause the smoke to flicker and replace weather-stripping and/or install plastic weather proofing sheets over drafty windows, etc. This is one of my favorite things to do because I love the shrink-wrap effect of using my hairdryer to seal windows that won’t need to be opened throughout the winter!
- Adjust your storm doors so that they close properly. Most modern doors have a winter setting on the door-side mounting pin. The pin should be in the outer-most hole on the closer mount for winter
- Clean underside of range hood and clean or replace filter.
- Inspect and flush water heater.
- Double-check your home’s emergency kit–it should hold the following at the very least: batteries, water, ready-to-eat food, blankets, flashlights, and a battery-operated radio. I also like to have candles & matches, hand sanitizer, a disposable camera, copies of my important documents, small tools (hammer, bungees, screwdriver) and some kitty supplies on-hand as well.
- Take advantage of future melting snow and fertilize your lawn & shrubs after pruning them. Bonus points for also applying any weed killers, etc. you’ll use in the spring.
- Prepare for plowing & shoveling–mark your sidewalk lines & driveway with small wooden or plastic stakes to help keep plows off of your lawn. If you have an oil tank and it’s underground or low to the ground, mark that with a small pole so it’s easy to find in the snow drifts. It’s also important to stake off any fragile plants and shrubs. Extra-sensitive plants should be mulched around and covered with burlap.
- Turn off and drain exterior faucets or cover them with a protective polystyrene insulating helmet (found at any home improvement store).
- Stock up on your ice melt, snow shovels, and traction supplies now.
- When it snows:
- Check your roof for ice dams and break them up to release water if necessary. Frozen dams along the eaves cause melted snow to puddle above and possibly leak through the roof.
- Knock snow from tree branches to keep them from breaking under the weight.
Consider sweeping snow from roofs that have shallow angles or little support if it can be done safely. Taking care of your body is a must for any healthy lifestyle. Exercise, plenty of sleep, social interactions, and minimizing stress are all important factors for how you feel and how your body operates. But when it comes to your hair, skin, nails, it’s all about what goes inside your body.
Sure, you can buy the latest & greatest anti-aging creams, get $500 haircuts, and spend hours in weekly salon appointments, but you won’t achieve any long-term, economical benefits if you don’t fuel your body correctly.