Take Action Now for a Warmer and Safe Winter

by Ed Mitchell on December 1, 2011

Question: Is there anything I can do to help prepare my home for the upcoming winter months?

Answer: Yes, the following steps listed below can help prepare your home for winter and help provide the protection and comfort you expect.

Start Outside:

  • Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and functioning property.
  • Check the roof and flashing around all surface projections (roof penetrations) and sidewalls (joints between roof and vertical services).
  • Drain and winterize all outside faucets and the sprinkler system.  Empty any water hoses, coil and store.
  • Repair any damage to sidewalks, driveways, and steps before ice or snow makes them worse due to the freeze/thaw cycle.
  • Make sure your chimney is clear of bird nests and leaves.  Consider calling in a professional chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Check and repair any gaps in weather-stripping or caulk around doors and windows.  Failure to do so could add up to 10% to your winter heating bill.
  • Make sure doors and windows have no missing or loose glazing putty.
  • Winterize the lawn mower and clean, sharpen and oil all metal gardening tools before storing.  Make sure your snow removal tools are operational and ready to go (if applicable).

Follow this checklist inside your home:

  • Consider having a professional inspect and service your furnace.  Also, be sure to replace the furnace filters and clean and adjust the humidifier (if applicable).
  • Clean heating ducts, grills, and registers.
  • Clean lint and any other debris out of dryer vent pipes.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide as well as fire extinguishers.
  • Reprogram your thermostat for the winter weather.  Keeping your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees when people are home will help control energy costs.
  • Unclog slow running drains.
  • Make sure bath and shower caulking is intact.
  • If your home is not insulated or under-insulated, seriously consider air sealing the air leakage pathways between the home and attic, and installing insulation in your attic to reduce drafts and heating costs.

Not only will it give you a warm feeling now to know your home is in good shape for winter, you’ll probably feel cozier all season long.

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