Yes, that arctic icy blast has hit the Minneapolis area, and a few recent snowfalls have reminded us that much as we might not like it, winter has arrived.  You may not be ready for it, but is your home?  Here is a list of some things you may or may not have overlooked:
  • Clean out the gutter - leaf debris will freeze and block melting snow, creating the perfect environment for an ice dam on your roof
  • Change your furnace filter
  • Get out the humidifiers; make sure you have cleaned them and install new filters or cartridges, if needed.  For most homes, as soon as you turn your furnace on, you probably need a humidifier running.  If you have a whole-house humidifier, change the drum or pad
  • Get an extra fire extinguisher or two and keep handy near potential fire sources - especially fire places and Christmas trees.  Make sure you test any existing fire extinguishers or check the pressure gauges to make sure they show "green."  The holidays mean extra cooking, which can lead to grease fires.  The extinguisher for your kitchen should be rated for grease fires as well as other fire types.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; if you've got a programmable thermostat, change those batteries as well
  • If you haven't had them done in a few years, consider having your furnace ducts cleaned
  • Are all your windows locked?  Locking them will insure they seal as tightly as they can
  • Are your doors and windows well-sealed?  Check caulk, weatherstripping, and door sweeps - replace as needed. 
  • Stow shovels near areas they will be needed
  • Put containers of ice melt near your entry doors
  • Clean your chimney before you use your fire place or wood stove
  • If you haven't done so already, store or cover the lawn furniture and grill
These are just some simple, basic things to check that will keep you safe and snug in your home this winter.  Hopefully you've already had your furnace check out and your roof inspected.  If you haven't had your roof looked at, you may want to have a professional roofing contractor such as Quarve Contracting give it a once-over before it's covered with snow.