Winterizing Your Home – A Checklist

by Editor on October 23, 2013

Holiday fire safety - Candles and fireplace

Winter is coming, and as a homeowner, if you’re unprepared, it could cost you money in higher heating bills and property damage. The good news is that winterizing your home doesn’t have to be a complete hassle. With just a little effort, you can fortify your home against Old Man Winter.

Here are some simple tips you should add to your checklist to get your home ready for the frigid months ahead.

1.  Get your furnace inspected—Before you fire up your heater this winter, it’s a good idea to have your furnace professionally inspected. Experts recommend annual furnace inspections to ensure the system is still in safe working order. It’s best to have your furnace inspected just before turning it on for fall or winter. Furthermore, if your furnace is over 40 years old, it may be time to get it replaced.

2.  Clean your fireplace—Don’t toss that log on the fire just yet. Before using your fireplace this season, it’s important to make sure your fireplace, chimney, and vents are all clean and in good condition. This can prevent chimney fires and also keep carbon monoxide from getting into your living space.

3.  Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans—A lot of people don’t realize that ceiling fans operate in both directions – clockwise and counterclockwise. During the winter, you should turn the fans reverse switch so that the blades run in a clockwise direction. This helps the fan push down heated air since it naturally rises to the ceiling.

4.  Clean your gutters—It’s important to clear your gutters of leaves and other debris so that the winter’s rain and snow have a way to drain. If your gutters are clogged, the water could back up, freeze, and eventually seep into your home.

5.  Seal any leaks allowing air flow—Chances are, your home is wasting energy thanks to various leaks around the house. Windows and doors are typically the leakiest culprits, allowing hot air to escape your home and cold, outside air to enter. That means you have to crank your heater up higher to keep your home comfortable, and that means higher electricity bills. Go all around your house—inside and outside—to find drafty spots, and seal them up with caulk.

6.  Check and repair your roof as needed—Take some time to inspect your roof for loose, damaged, or missing shingles as these could cause serious, damaging leaks during snowy, stormy winter days. If you don’t feel up to the job of climbing up on the roof, hire a handyman or roofer to check and repair your roofing.

7.  Shut off all outdoor faucets—Burst pipes are a common source of frustration and expense for homeowners during the winter. One way to avoid this is to turn off all outdoor faucets. Disconnect your garden hoses and drain any remaining water in the faucets so that it doesn’t freeze and burst the pipes.

8.  Protect your plumbing—It’s important to make sure your pipes are protected and insulated all winter long. A burst pipe caused by a harsh winter freeze can become a costly nightmare. It’s a good idea to have a plumbing company inspect your system to ensure it’s properly protected against the impending cold.

Now is the time to start winterizing your home. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

photo by: State Farm

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