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Ten Tips For Winterizing Your Home

Winter will be here before you know it. Is your home ready for the onslaught of cold weather, snow, sleet, and blustery winds? If you live anywhere with four distinct seasons, winter is probably the hardest season on your home. So to protect your investment and ensure your comfort on those cold winter nights, here are some steps you should take.

  1. Seal up your windows and doors. Make sure the weather-stripping around them is tight, and replace it if not. If your home has storm windows, put them up now, before you have to do it in a raging blizzard. In a pinch, heavy clear plastic sheeting over the windows, securely fastened with duct tape, can help prevent heat loss.
  2. If you have a fireplace, have the chimney swept to prevent fires from creosote buildup in the flue. Make sure you have a good supply of firewood.
  3. Replace your furnace filters, and have a professional inspect your heating system if it hasn't been done in a couple of years.
  4. Turn off any attic fans. If you have the vane type that extend through the roof, cover them with plastic and seal with duct tape.
  5. While you're on the roof, inspect for any loose or missing shingles or tiles. Nail down the loose ones and replace any missing ones. You don't want leaks when the snow is a foot deep on the roof.
  6. Take down any temporary shade structures, such as canvas-roofed gazebos. Roll up canvas or fabric awnings. They aren't built to withstand heavy snow.
  7. Treat any wooden decks with a good water seal to prevent rot and mildew caused by snow melt.
  8. Make sure you have snow-clearing equipment: snow blower, snow shovel, sand, snow-melt chemicals. You want to be able to keep your walks and driveways clear.
  9. Keep flashlights with fresh batteries handy, and candles. Power outages are not infrequent during winter. If you have frequent or lengthy power outages in your area, you might also want to invest in a generator, or in a kerosene heater to keep warm in emergencies. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid fire and oxygen depletion.
  10. Finally, get your winter wardrobe out of mothballs. Wearing a sweater around the house will allow you to set the thermostat a few degrees lower and keep your heating bills down.