Autumn is the perfect time to get your house in order for the winter season and Jonathan Toohill of Howl at the Moon Mechanicals, in Lake Placid, points to five important steps that homeowners should not overlook. Some are easy, do it yourself, while others may require a professional.

Check Gutters and Downspouts:

Jonathan says that it is important to make sure that your home’s gutters and downspouts are clear of any leaves and debris. This will help to ensure that blockage does not occur so that snow and water are able to move freely away from your home.

Any blockage of water, ice and snow will not only cause damage to the gutters and downspouts but will also cause harm to your shingles and home and ice build-up is one of the biggest causes of water damage to roofs.

He notes that some people may use heat tape to help thaw the built-up ice, but that can eventually lead to more damage as water is forced up into the roof, rather than drain down.

It’s also important that when removing summer and autumn debris from your gutters and downspouts, it’s also a good time to make sure that your not missing any shingles, your metal roof is fully secure and that there are no tree limbs or branches hanging over the home.

Shutting off the Outdoor Spicket:

According to Jonathan, this can often be one of the most over-looked things to do to get ready for the winter but at the same time one of the most important.

In every home there is a section of the pipe that is heated, inside the home, and another section that is out in the cold.  In between there is a rubber gasket and if the outdoor section of the home’s pipe freezes, or ice builds, the gasket can break. This will not only cause significant flooding in the basement, but since many families store legal documents, treasured photos, valuables and other memorabilia in the basement, they could be lost forever.

Check your Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers:

October may be fire prevention month, but Jonathan stresses September is a great time to check all your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. He says to go throughout the home and change the batteries in each of your smoke detectors and hire a trained professional to make sure your fire extinguisher is safe and gets recharged with the correct chemical extinguishing agent. It’s also important make sure everyone in the household is aware of the exit plan and that it is rehearsed in case there is a fire.

Have your Heating System Checked:

Families often turn off their heating system in the summer, then turn it back on in the autumn/winter, expecting it to run smoothly. That’s not often the case and Jonathan advises to have a professional come to the home to service, clean and check the system so that there are no major issues, so that when it’s time to turn on the thermostat it’s operating efficiently.

It is also a good idea to completely fill the home’s fuel tank to make sure there are no leaks there. He also points out that you should also contact your home fuel provider to set up a delivery schedule and leave behind the worry as to whether or not there’s enough fuel available in the tank, especially during a winter storm when there’s the greatest demand for repair and delivery.

Jonathan also notes that it’s very important to check your heating system’s ventilation. Without the proper air flow, your system may not start or run properly. So, whether it’s a fireplace, propane furnace or high efficiency boiler make sure that the outdoor ventilation is clear of debris and that its clean or clear of snow buildup.

Service your Generator:

There’s a better chance than not that at some point during the winter your home will lose power. It could be an on-demand, an automatic generator or a small generator you hook up yourself, however; he says homeowners want to make sure their generator starts, is making the proper voltage and that your disconnect, or bypass, is not sending power back out into the line. This can be very dangerous to line workers who may be out trying to restore power.


Autumn is also a good time to review your home-owners insurance coverage. A Homeowners Insurance Policy can cover damage caused by fire, windstorms and inclement weather. Homeowners can save on their premium costs by installing smoke detectors and fire alarms, interior sprinkler systems, home security and smart or connected home technology, which alert customers to an event of burglary.

For a review of your homeowner’s insurance policy or for a quote, contact the Blue Line Insurance Agency by visiting, or by calling an independent representative at 518-523-4321.

Howl at the Moon Mechanicals

75 Wesvally Road

Lake Placid, NY 12946

Tel: 518-302-5211

Facebook: @Howl-at-the-Moon-Mechanicals_LLC

Instagram: @HowlattheMoonMechanicals