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    Chuck Peterson’s best Get Ready for Winter tips are pure gold for any homeowner!

    Winter in WisconsinIt’s that time of year, before you know it winter will be here. I knew exactly where to go for the best advice to get ready for winter.

    It’s always a treat to chat with our agent Chuck Peterson. He is not only a knowledgeable REALTOR but our team’s expert on all things related to home maintenance. I caught up with him in his workshop. Eager to help, he was happy to share what he was doing at home to get ready for winter. Here’s what he had to say.

    Let’s start with the cars

    You know winters can be rough and they don’t like -30. I check them out early, before the first cold snap. I get the oil changed, even if it’s not quite time, I think they do better with fresh oil. I get the battery tested if it’s a few years old, say 3 or 4. They will do that free at Fleet Farm or O’Reilly Auto Parts. I check the tire pressure because that changes with the temperature. And I make sure to look out for Mrs. Peterson, and ensure there is a scraper, blanket, and so on in the trunk just in case. Something not everyone thinks about—if you have an attached garage that stays above freezing it’s important to keep your gas tank above ½ full so you don’t get condensation forming in the tank.

    Technician looking over a gas furanace

    Furnace

    Change the filter! This is really important. I change it every 4 to 6 weeks depending on the temperature, and I keep a winter’s supply on hand. This will really help you to save on fuel. Make sure you have a HVAC professional clean and check it every 1-2 years. They can see if it’s burning properly or if the heat exchanger may be cracked. I check the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. I look at the outside vent to make sure it’s clear and not obstructed, and trim back shrubs if necessary.

    Doors and window

    I check all of the seals and caulk as necessary.

    Hose bibs

    First, after I disconnect the hose, I make sure it’s drained before I put it away so it doesn’t freeze and crack. Then I shut off the valve inside the house. This is a must in an older home, and it’s a way to know for sure you won’t have any problems even with newer frostproof hose bibs.

    Gutters

    I make sure everything is cleaned out. This keeps ice from building up and damaging the roof, and it makes sure they don’t clog in the Spring and it keeps the water away from the foundation.

    Outside

    I walk around and do a quick visual inspection. I look at the roof. If I see a shingle has lifted a little in the wind, I’ll go up and take care of that with a little tar to make sure it’s sealed. Best to take care of it while it’s still a minor problem. I also like to cover my A/C unit in the winter. I know not everyone does but I like to keep it free of debris.

    Mice

    I live in a rural subdivision and you know this is the time of year mice try to come inside. I use a spray called Repels All, I get it from Fleet Farm, and I spray the foundation with it. It smells really bad but that’s gone in about half a day. The mice can smell it all winter and it really works!

    Garage door

    We all know how the garage door can creak and groan when it’s stiff and cold. To prevent that I lube the rollers and the hinges. Don’t use WD-40, it’s a great product but not for this. There are products made specifically for this. Or I like to use white lithium grease or LPS 2.

    Lawn

    I cut it short for the winter because this helps prevent thatch in the Spring. Also, in the Spring, I don’t rake or thatch until after it’s been mowed 2 times, yes, 2 times. This helps protect the young grass sprouts. Some people like to put on a winterizer fertilizer in the Fall. And, I don’t always remember but it’s important to, make sure you rake under the leaves out under the maple trees before it snows. If I don’t, I get leaf blight the next year.

    Lawn mower

    Before I put it in storage, I make sure it’s cleaned, I fill the tank with gas and put in stabilizer. Then I let the carburetor run dry to make sure there’s no stale gas in it.

    Snow blower

    I make sure it’s ready early, before the first snow comes. I like to change the oil before the season starts so it’s fresh–not at the end of the season.

    Outdoor equipment

    A radio guy I used to listen to in the Twin Cities would always say know your cylinder count. The average is 12-16, well I counted once and I have like 64. I’m sure Mrs. Peterson thinks that may be too many but I do make sure I take care of them. They all get checked out, and I put TruFuel stabilizer in all my 2 stroke motors like chain saws and weed whackers. I have no carburetor problems. It’s like magic in a can.

    Tools

    I make sure they are all cleaned. If the power tools aren’t clean the motors will start hard. I change the air filter and change the oil in the compressors. On the air tools and impact wrenches, I make sure to clean and flush the lines.

    Workshop

    I have my shop in a detached building, and I like to baby my tools. I have a small 400 watt heater to keep the condensation off of the tools. It keeps it 45-50 degrees in there. I also have a wall furnace, and I make sure the pilot light is burning clean.

    Christmas decorations

    I put my Christmas decorations out early, by the end of October. I like to get it done before the first snow falls. I make sure all my cords are in place and working but don’t plug them in until after Thanksgiving.

    There you have it. Thanks so much Chuck! You can be sure, Chuck gives the same care and attention to his real estate clients as he does to his home. Give him a call today!

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