The best season

I like the cooler days and cooler nights.  While it’s sad to say goodbye to summer, fall in North Carolina is beautiful.  The trees begin to turn color and drop their leaves; ushering in a mild winter (a yankee perspective). 

A new homeowner recently asked me about preparing for the winter months.  I reflected on my experiences and researched for additional ideas.  These are some items that I came up with:


-Change furnace filters and test furnace.

-Check weatherstripping and door bottoms for air leaks. This has year round benefits.

-Install programmable thermostat(s) and set times for most efficient use.

-Fireplace. If gas, test gas logs and make sure there are fresh batteries for the igniter if applicable. If wood burning, clean out ash and make sure damper is functioning. Not a bad time to clean the chimney. Close the damper if non-gas to prevent heat escape.

-Check water heater temperature. Most are set at 140 degrees by default. You may want to lower it.

-Reverse ceiling fans. Down for summer, up for winter. Helps circulate air.

-Close off rooms that are not used and shut the vents.


-Remove garden hose from outdoor faucet and drain the hose. If the valve is not frost free, shut off water on the inside and drain the valve.

-Install storm doors.

-Clean gutters after all leaves have fallen from trees.

-Drain sprinkler system.

-Store garden tools and cover and store outdoor furniture.

-Consider a deck treatment if it needs it. Winter can be hard on exposed wood.

-Address fall landscaping needs such as pruning, mulching, and leaf removal.

-Purchase snow shovel and bag of sand. If you buy driveway ice melter, be sure it’s safe for your driveway.


-Purchase extra gas for grill. Can cook on this if the electric stove is not working. Optionally, can use camping stove or Sterno/alcohol fondue pot for emergency cooking.

-Extra flashlights and batteries.

-Down blankets or thick comforters to stay warm in bed or lounging.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Albert Camus