Getting Your Home Ready for the Winter

With winter just around the corner, it is time to start getting your home ready for the cold. Winterizing your home can be simple, if you know how. Here are some tips to get you started.

We all want to keep the cold out, and the heat in. Simple ways to help do this are to seal your windows and doors. Use weather stripping around your doors to help create a tighter seal. This will help keep that brisk, cold air from coming in your door once it is shut.

Use caulk to seal any cracks around your windows, and replace any cracked glass. Replace the screens with storm windows for extra protection against the cold. If you are unable to do anything else, simply cover your windows with plastic to help keep the cold out.

Prepare your furnace for the cold weather by checking and changing the filter. Do this once a month to help the furnace work more efficiently and also to keep your bill down a little. If, upon inspection, there appears to be any problems with your furnace, have some one who is trained look at it and make sure it is in proper working order. Be sure that any and all flammable materials are moved away from your furnace to prevent fire.

If you have a fireplace, it is time to get it ready too. Have your chimney cleaned to assure good airflow. Screen off the top of the chimney to prevent birds and other animals from getting in it. Stock up on firewood, whether you buy it or cut it yourself, and keep it in a dry place. Last, but not least, be sure the damper opens and closes as it should.

Clean out your gutters. This will help prevent ice from building up in them and allow for proper draining. Inspect your roof for leaks and worn shingles. Replace and fix as necessary. You may also want to add extra insulation in your attic to help keep the heat from escaping from your house.

Install and inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them and replace batteries as needed or when daylight savings time ends. By changing them at this time, you are more likely to remember to check and change them on a regular schedule. Replace any fire extinguishers that are more than ten years old. If you do not have any fire extinguishers, now is the time to buy them.

Protect your water pipes from freezing by doing these simple things. Locate your water main shut off valve in case there is an emergency and you need to shut your water off. Drain all of the water from your garden hoses and put them away. Wrap any exposed pipes with insulation to help prevent freezing. Drain your air conditioner pipes and if you can, shut the water valve to it off. If you happen to go on a vacation, or even if you only go away for a few days, be sure to leave your furnace on so it heats your house to at least 55 degrees. If it is extremely cold outside, you may want to leave your water on at a slow drip to help prevent freezing too.

Check the foundation around your home. Clean away any debris or plants. Look for any cracks or crevices and seal them. Look for any dry rot or infestation and be sure to fix it if there is a problem. Secure any crawlspace entrances too. Checking and repairing your foundation will help to keep any rodents out of your house.

Prepare an emergency kit in case of power outages or other emergencies. Be sure to have plenty of candles and matches and/or lighters. Keep some non-perishable food in your kit, as well as bottled water, and pet food. Have emergency phone numbers, including the numbers for your utility company, placed either on your refrigerator or next to your phone for easy access. Be sure that you have a telephone that is not cordless. If the power goes out, often time phone service does not, but a cordless phone will not work when the power is out. Keep plenty of warm blankets and some warm clothes with your emergency supplies. Be sure you have a first aid kit too. Be sure you have an evacuation plan for your family in case of fire or other emergency that requires you to leave your home.

Taking simple steps to winterize your home will help you keep your heating costs down and your home warmer. It will also help to safeguard against rodents and freezing pipes. The time it takes to winterize your home will be well worth it when you are able to sit in your warm cozy house without worry.

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