Tips on Winterizing Your Home

Prepping your home for winter will save money on energy bills and avoid costly or even dangerous accidents.

Preparing your home for the cold months ahead is worth a little sweat equity. You'll stay cozy through the winter, save money on energy bills and avoid costly or even dangerous accidents by following these five tips for preparing your home for winter:

Meet Your Heat Sources

Gas- and wood-burning fireplaces, propane heaters, electric furnaces, any and all sources you use to stay warm indoors should be cleaned and maintained before the first winter use, and that includes the duct system. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that up to 60 percent of heated air can be lost from a home's central heating system if ductwork isn't insulated or connected properly.

Clean the fireplace chimney to remove creosote. Creosote is the flammable residue that sticks to the walls of a chimney pipe. If ignited, creosote can start a dangerous chimney fire, throwing sparks onto your roof or nearby branches. Depending on the amount of use, a wood-burning fireplace may need to be cleaned more than once a year. Check the pipe regularly and have it swept each time you detect ¼ inch of creosote buildup.

Have a trained technician check the connections on a gas fireplace to make sure there are no leaks and that the unit is in proper working order for the season.

If the gutters are blocked, melting ice and snow can't drain properly.

Gutter Patrol
If the gutters are blocked, melting ice and snow can't drain properly. Water can dam up and refreeze, causing serious damage to your roofing. Clean out autumn's debris by hand and run a hose through the gutter system to find any leaks or misalignments. Check to see that water is draining away from the house properly. A general guideline is to divert the gutter flow about 10 feet away from the home's foundation.

Window Dressing

Storm windows are highly effective against wintery breezes, but they're not always available. Shrink-wrap insulating kits are inexpensive and easy to apply with nothing more than a pair of scissors, some double-stick tape and a hair dryer. Even placing a sheet of bubble wrap in the window will help cure drafts. Wet the window with a light spritz of water and press the bubble wrap against it. Shrink-wrap kits and bubble wrap are good alternatives for anyone who can't or doesn't want to access their windows from the outside.

Test smoke alarms by actually wafting a bit of smoke past them.



All Wrapped Up
You put on an extra layer of warmth in the winter, so should your home. Wrap water pipes in insulating tape, and make sure the attic has adequate insulation. A minimum of 12 inches of attic insulation is suggested no matter what region you live in. A general rule is that if the ceiling joists are visible there's not enough insulation because joists typically measure about 10 inches.

Battery Check List
One of the most important steps in winterizing your home is also one of the easiest: Put fresh batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Test smoke alarms by actually wafting a bit of smoke past them, not just pressing the "test" button, and remember that detecting devices should be replaced every ten years.









For more home care tips, please visit homechanneltv.com.

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