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Preparing your home for winter
Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for winter:
* Furnace Inspection
Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly. Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
* Get the Fireplace Ready
Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
* Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows
Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them. Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows. Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood. If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
* Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts
If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams. Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home. Replace worn roof shingles or tiles. Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris. Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.
* Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work. Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.
* Prevent Plumbing Freezes
Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.