7 Tips on Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

* This is a repeat post but worth posting again as winter will be here before you know it. 

Now is the time to begin preparations for the long, cold months ahead. These 7 tips on getting your home ready for winter apply to most homeowners:

  • Make sure your furnace is ready. You don’t want to be stuck on the first cold day of the season without heat. Change filters and stock up on new ones. Schedule a repair if needed. Heating professionals are busy and become even busier when the unprepared realize too late that their furnaces need fixing.
  • Get your chimney checked by a professional and have it cleaned. Animals like to build nests in chimney flues which is a safety concern, as is creosote buildup. For more information on the care and keeping of chimneys, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website.
  • Test your smoke alarms. You should be doing this monthly as it is, according to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). The agency recommends replacing the batteries at least once a year and replacing units every 10 years.
  • Blow out your sprinkler system. Turn off outside spigots and drain them as well. Cold weather can cause freezing, which is an expensive headache you won’t want to deal with later.
  • Clean gutters. Clogged gutters prevent water from properly draining and can also fill with ice and cause snow buildup on your roof. The weight from snow, and then subsequent leaking from melting snow, can seriously damage your roof.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture and store it away from the elements.
  • Trim bushes and branches that are near the house to prevent damage during severe weather.

For more tips, read this. Then get to work! And if you have any useful tips that have worked for you, let me know in the comments!

Scary Mid-Century Modern Architecture

Occasionally on DIYalogue I’ll share an interesting piece of writing or photography that strikes a chord with me. Or, in this case, tickles my funny bone.

This post on Projectophile is a public service announcement of sorts. It’s titled “15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes That Will Kill Your Children.”

Here’s a taste:

“The clean lines, the geometric decorative elements, the seamless blending of indoor and outdoor space… I sure do love mid-century modern architecture.Do you know what I love more? My children. And that is why I will never live in my MCM dream home. Because mid-century modern architecture is designed to KILL YOUR CHILDREN. (Also, moderately clumsy or drunk adults).”

I love Clare”s twisted sense of humor. Let me know what you think.

Trending: Pet-friendly Home Additions

Do you have a pet-friendly home? You’re not alone. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans will spend an estimated $58.51 billion in 2014 on their furry friends. Those figures include expenditures on food, supplies and medicine, vet care, boarding, grooming and the like. But increasingly, we are also making space for, or modifying, our homes to accommodate our pets and, in particular, our dogs. Home builders are seeing a marked increase in requests to design spaces around pets, and a few entrepreneurial types have decided to specialize in this lucrative and growing niche market.

If you’re considering remodeling or building a new home, here are a few pet-friendly home additions that could make life easier for you and your pet:

Hardwood or laminate floors

You’ll always have pet hair with certain breeds, but constantly vacuuming can be exhausting and you’ll never get it all. Smooth surfaces make picking up pet hair a breeze.

Pet doors

If you’re constantly going to the door to let your dog out to do his business, a pet door can make life a little easier. The important thing to remember when purchasing a door is that it’s the appropriate size for your pet so make sure to measure Fluffy or Fido beforehand. To see how easy it is to install a pet door, watch this video.

Crates & gates

If you crate your pet when you’re not home, chances are you’re using the standard, utilitarian plastic version sold at most pet stores. While they work just fine, they’re not exactly stylish. Consider some of these upscale designs if you’re looking to upgrade. Or have one built into the design of your home.

The same goes for gates to keep pets (or small children) confined to one area of the home or to prevent them from using stairs. Many people use the gates found at children’s or pet supply stores, but you can get crafty and make a stylish one of your own. Here are some examples.

Finally, if it’s in your budget, considering installing a dog shower if your pet loves to go outside and get dirty. Best located in or near a mud room, it can also be used for cleaning tasks of a human nature.

Have you ever made any modifications to your home to accommodate your pets? Let us know what you think in the comments!