Tips for Winterizing Your Home

December 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Ready or not, Old Man Winter is here. Some of us are still recovering from last year’s Snowmageddon. But even though a flake has yet to fall, now is the time to winterize your home.

First, have your heating system serviced. This includes replacing the filters and checking to make sure the system is working properly. You can replace the filter yourself, but servicing your heating unit is best left to the professionals. Consider getting a service contract if you don’t already have one.

If you have storm windows and doors, check them before installation for cracked glass and/or gaskets. And while you’re at it, check around your windows and doors for cracks and tend to those, as well.

Also, remove or cover all window or wall-unit air conditioners until the mercury rises. This will help seal the house for maximum heating efficiency, as well as preserve the life of the air conditioner.

Clean your gutters! Otherwise, rain and melt-off from snow will not flow freely and can damage your roof and walls. If you don’t like heights, hire a professional to do the dirty work. And you might want to consider gutter guards to keep out the clutter. That will shorten your to-do list for next year.

Check the sidewalk and all walkways and handrails on the outside of your house and make sure everything is stable. In addition, make sure your snow blower and other snow-removal equipment is in working order. You want to be able to clear away snow and ice in the event of a storm. Doing both of these things can help limit your liability in the event someone takes a tumble on your property.

Another item for inspection:  your insulation. Insufficient insulation can cause snow to melt too quickly to be carried away efficiently and water can then seep through your roof and walls. This can also weaken the roof and cause a collapse. Snow is pretty to look at, just not when it’s in your lap in the middle of your living room.

Also, if your house isn’t properly insulated, pipes can become frozen and burst. Another way to help prevent frozen pipes is to keep the temperature of your house at a minimum of 65 degrees. Should your pipes freeze, you need to know where all the shut-off valves are located. This includes the main valve for the house, and also the valves within each room. The quicker you shut off the valves, the less chance you have of your pipes bursting. If you have a vacation home, don’t forget about it! Drain all of the pipes and empty the toilet tank to prevent freezing and the damage associated with it.

If you like to roast chestnuts on an open fire, clean your chimney before you throw on the first log! If you have a gas fireplace, have it checked to make sure it’s in proper working order.  And if you didn’t do it when the clocks changed, replace those smoke alarm batteries. Heed your grandmother’s advice and don’t play with fire!

Follow these tips, and hopefully you’ll stay warm and dry all winter.

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