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9 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Winter
Now that fall has officially arrived, it’s time to prepare your home for the cold weather. Preparing your home for a long, cold winter is something every homeowner needs to think about before the season begins. These steps, many of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.
Reverse your ceiling fans
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to turn the fan blades clockwise after you turn on the heat. The fan will create an updraft and push the heated air down from the ceiling into the room (remember, hot air rises). This is especially useful in rooms with high ceilings and will allow you to turn your thermostat down a degree or two for more energy savings.
Clean up your whining
It’s not a complicated job, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Digging holes can create ice dams, which can cause gutters to burst, shingles to loosen, and your roof to leak. Simply climb over the edge of your roof and carefully remove the debris. It is not necessary to remove every small stone. The main objective is to ensure that there is no obstruction to the flow of water and that there is no water accumulation in the drains.
Prevent ice dams
If your home had a lot of snow last winter, or worse, ice dams that allow meltwater to seep into your home, take steps to prevent potential damage this year. Enlist the help of a home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor. Ask them to fix air leaks or poor insulation in your attic.
Check your roof
If you don’t have access to your roof, or prefer not to, use binoculars to inspect the shingles. Look for damaged, loose, or missing teeth that may have leaked from a winter storm or melting snow.
Close windows and doors
If the gap between the siding and the window or door frames is greater than a nickel’s width, you may need to re-apply the exterior caulk. (Also check the joints between window and door frames.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and is impervious to the elements.
Turn off the outside faucet
Cold winter temperatures can cause your pipes in your home to freeze and burst, causing major water damage. Locate and close any shut-off valves leading to outside faucets and drain any excess water inside the lines. It’s also a good idea to drain any interior pipes in an unheated area of your home, such as the attic.
Stow your mower
As the mower sits over the winter, the remaining fuel in its engine will decompose, “varnish” the carburetor, and cause trouble when you try to start the engine in the spring. Wait until the tank is almost empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel.
Call a chimney sweep
Before you burn the Yule logs, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance that burns gas, oil, wood or coal), chimneys and vents are clean and in good repair. It will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home. If you have a wood-burning heating appliance or fireplace, have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney inspector to reduce the risk of a fire.
Test smoke and CO2 detectors
No matter the time of year, it’s always a good idea to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure the batteries are still working. Remember that these detectors lose their effectiveness over time, so replace old and outdated products after five years of use.
What else do you do every year to prepare for the winter season?
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