by Christy Heitger-Ewing

So much happens in autumn! The colorful leaves begin to drop, as do the temperatures. Coffee shops break out pumpkin spice lattes. And daylight hours continue to dwindle. While growing darkness and chilly temps may prompt you to want to go into hibernation mode by burying yourself in a mound of soft blankets, you must pause that impulse and first carve out time to get your house hibernation-ready!

This starts with checking your home’s air quality. The experts at Homesense Heating and Cooling note that pets, dust mites, cigarette and/or vape smoke, and even home air fresheners can impact inside air quality. They can, however, test your home and offer viable solutions to providing cleaner air.

Another pre-winter item on your checklist should be furnace maintenance. Believe me, you’ll rest easier knowing that your HVAC system won’t conk out on you in the dead of winter. It’s wise to replace faulty equipment, swap out dirty filters, and schedule regular maintenance on the system to ensure controls are functioning properly.

“Most catastrophic or emergency failures happen because the small problems are ignored,” says Henry Nichols, Engineering and Sales Professional with Johnson-Melloh.

Speaking of catastrophic, nothing’s worse than having an accident due to ice. While we’re grateful that the transportation department drops salt on the roadways to melt the treacherous substance, it comes at a price. Salt damages the environment as it leads to toxic salinity, which not only compromises our water but also the soil and all life forms, including plants, animals, and other organisms that rely on the soil’s nutrients. Johnson-Melloh has a solution that eliminates the need for salt while also quickly melting snow and ice from your driveway: the Automatic Snow and Ice Melt (ASIM). When the driveway is poured, the concrete pours over the ASIM, completely protecting it inside the hard shell of the driveway.

“Clients appreciate the comfort and convenience ASIM brings,” says Nichols.

Your garage floor also takes a beating from salt. Thankfully, Indy Floor Coating can install coatings to both reinforce and protect concrete from cracking, corroding, and crumbling.

“Coating the concrete with a permanent chemical bond creates an exceptionally durable floor, strengthening it and stopping surface abrasion that can lead to deterioration,” says Nick Knight, operations manager for Indy Floor Coating. Bonus: these coatings restore life to aging floors, making dirty, stained, dusty floors shiny again.

Winter months signal holidays – a time when families love to spruce up their home’s interior and exterior with decorations. Although they’re beautiful, they can also be dangerous as 25% of holiday fires are caused by decorations according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. To help prevent such a tragedy, inspect electrical lights for damage, avoid overloading extension cords, keep decorations three feet from open flames, keep trees well-watered, and install additional electrical outlets or in-use covers for decorations; Burtner Electric can take care of that for you.

While you’re outside hanging those decorations, prune your trees and shrubs in order to maximize growth in the spring. Not only will you have a better look at the plant, but while your trees are barren, you can also remove weak, vulnerable branches, which will increase their chances of surviving winter storms. In addition, according to Dan Weingart, owner of GreenImage Landscape & Design, pruning in winter is better for disease control.

“During the winter, disease-causing bacteria, fungus, or insects are typically dead or dormant,” he says. “So, you’re less likely to transmit diseases from plant to plant as you prune.”

Once you’ve got all your hibernation ducks in a row, you can channel your inner bear and prepare to enter hibernation mode, complete with as many soft blankets as you want; you’ve earned it!