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Winterizing Your Home Before Trouble Begins

by Gabby Hyman
Repair-Home Columnist

You may not think of winterizing as a home improvement project, but it may be the most important chore to undertake each fall to preserve the value of your house and property. Some tasks are straightforward and simple; others may require you to summon a heating or plumbing contractor. Know that any money you put into winterizing is well spent in the long run, whether you intend to remain, or sell your home in the future.

First things first--if you live in a northern climate, you may want to attend to your heater and insulation, as well as to your plumbing. CBS Early Show reporter, Danny Lipford, says you can save nearly half of your heating costs by simply inspecting your home for air leaks, checking and repairing insulation, and servicing your furnace.

Walk around the exterior of the house, examining all entry or exit outlets for electrical and plumbing. You can seal leaks by applying silicon gel, installing caulk around leaky windows, and adding weather stripping to your doors.

Have Your Furnace Inspected and Serviced
Have an HVAC contractor come at least once a year and inspect your furnace and clean out the ducts for maximum efficiency. If you haven't changed your filters, fall is a great time to catch up before heavy use. If you use a fireplace, fall is also the best time to make sure it's free of creosote. A chimney contractor can free it of soot and other debris before trouble starts. Add replacing the batteries in smoke detectors throughout your home to your list of immediate action items.

Ask your contractor or home improvement store expert about adding a blanket to your hot water heater. Blankets can cut back on the amount of energy it takes to heat your water, and they cost as little as $15.

As for protecting your pipes, have another walk outside and be sure to drain your hoses, wrap exposed source pipes, and mark the location of your water main in case there's heavy snowfall and you need to find it in the middle of winter.

Planning to be away on a warm-weather vacation for several weeks? Leave your heat on, although at greatly lowered temperatures. Sears recommends shutting off your water heater as well as the main water supply to the home if you're going away for a month or more.



The Early Show



About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.