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  4. Checklist: 5 Weekends of Chores and Essential Tasks for Winter Readiness
  • 5 Weekends to Winter Readiness

    Chip away at some major seasonal chores, one weekend at a time.

    Check and change batteries in smoke detectors at daylight savings.
    • Feeling overwhelmed by the length of your fall to-do list? Break it down into totally manageable chunks with this five-weekend roadmap of essential tasks for winter readiness.

    • Weekend #1: Winterize furniture, indoors and out.

      • Pack up your outdoor living space. Wipe or hose down all tables and chairs to remove spills and stains. Cover furniture with plastic or canvas to protect against the elements and pests looking for a winter residence.
      • Freshen up indoor furniture. Whether you hire a service or manage the task yourself, make your living space less attractive to dust mites and other pests by vacuuming, spot cleaning or machine washing upholstery, decorative pillows and carpeting.
    • Weekend #2: Make home sweet home cleaner when closed up for winter.

      • Swap out the air filter in your heating and cooling system. Filtrete™ Allergen Defense Air Filters capture allergens and large particles, including lint and household dust. Plus, they’re designed to trap unwanted particles such as pollen and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter.
      • Remove window screens for the winter. Brush down screens before washing them in soapy water. Store upright, and cover with plastic to prevent dust buildup during the winter.
      • Clean and vacuum heat vents. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should have your ductwork professionally cleaned if any of the following is true*:  
          •  You recently renovated your home and suspect construction debris or dust in the ducts.
          •  You discover mold, pest nests or other animal infestation in the ducts.
          •  Someone in your household suffers from symptoms or illnesses you can’t pinpoint. (In this case, you may want to rule out the air ducts as the culprit.)
    • Weekend #3: Secure the perimeter of your home or apartment.

      • Insulate leaky windows. Stand next to a closed window holding a recently extinguished match. If you notice smoke blowing, you’ve got a leak that could use some weather sealing.
      • Reinforce doors and replace weather stripping as needed. For additional backup, purchase door draft guards.
      • Seal electrical outlets. Improve energy efficiency and insulate against unexpected drafts with foam socket sealers.
    • Weekend #4: Test home appliances for proper function and efficacy.

      • Check and change batteries on smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, child monitors and health monitors. Stock up on emergency replacement batteries for each of these devices.
    • Weekend #5: Prepare for winter weather emergencies.

      • Make sure electric space heaters are up to code. Plug directly into outlets and avoid extension cords.
      • Stock extra heating fuel for fireplaces or kerosene lamps. In both cases, ensure safe storage and plenty of ventilation.
      • Consider installing a portable generator. Follow these home safety tips from the American Red Cross to avoid home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
      • Prevent and fix frozen pipes. The American Red Cross offers plenty of pipe protection tips for navigating this chilly topic**.