25 Timely Tips for a New Year
- Have your furnace inspected now. “If you don’t have heat when that first 45-degree fall day rolls around, others won’t either, and they’ll be begging for a pro, too,” says Doug Kirk, an instructor for Green Plumbers USA, in Sacramento, California.
- Resod. As temperatures cool, your grass puts more energy into its roots to store nutrients for the winter. “Also, many garden pests are gone at this point,” says Leonard Paul, greenhouse foreman at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in New York City.
- Bleed radiators. To reduce built-up pressure in pipes, fit a bleed key into each radiator’s valve and turn it counterclockwise. Use a bucket to catch trapped water, then close the valve.
- Test windows for drafts. Run a lit candle along the perimeter of each window. If the flame flickers, the window may need caulking or weather stripping.
- Turn off the outdoor water supply. Trapped water can freeze, causing pipes to burst. Empty the garden hose to prevent it from splitting. Unscrew it and coil it up, leaving one end on the ground. As you coil, gravity will force the water out.
- Lubricate locks and hinges on windows and doors. The dry winter air may cause them to stick, so treat them with a lubricant, such as WD-40. Do this to the garage-door rollers, too.
- Ensure that toilets are in tiptop shape before the holidays. To test for leaks, put a few drops of dark food coloring into the tank. If you see dye in the bowl, the flapper may need adjusting or replacing.
- Clean gutters. Some trees release their leaves this late, and just four or five leaves can block a downspout.