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How to Winterize Your Home

Winter 2011-2012 is forecasted by exactaweather.com to break cold temperature and snow fall records. This means in a few short months many people will be unpacking their winter clothes and getting ready for the cold weather. And while winterizing your wardrobe may not be complicated, winterizing your home can be a whole different story. Here are some tips to help you get your home ready for winter 2011-2012:

Heating System

 

  • Have you had your furnace cleaned? It’s a good idea to get your furnace cleaned and inspected before the heating season. For more information, take a look at our blog on why it’s a good idea to get your heating equipment cleaned.
  • Is your furnace over 20 years old? Consider installing a new high-efficiency heating system, which could burn less heating oil or propane and save you money during the heating season. Older furnaces could be as much as 41% less efficient than newer furnaces, even less if your furnace hasn’t been properly maintained.
  • Turn on your furnace before the heating season to make sure it works. Listen for anything that sounds out of the ordinary. Also check to see if your carbon monoxide detector is showing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. If so, turn off your heating system immediately and call a heating service expert.

Exterior

  • Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and crevices that might let in cold air. Seal them properly.
  • Make sure there is proper weather-stripping around your exterior doors and that your windows are properly caulked. Replace any broken or cracked windows, and if you have a basement, consider covering your basement windows with plastic. These areas are very prone to letting cold air escape.
  • Although it’s a big expense, you should consider replacing old windows, which could be letting out heat produced by your heating system. The average homeowner can save 10% a year on their heating bills by replacing old windows.
  • Trim trees and branches that hang too close to the house or electrical wires as they could fall and cause damage to your home.
  • Seal driveways, brick patios, and wooden decks since extreme temperatures and weather can damage them by causing cracks or warping of your wooden decks. Replacing wooden decks and brick patios can be very costly come summer time due to the labor involved.

Interior

  • Consider adding extra insulation to your attic and inside your walls to prevent warm air from escaping your home. A third of all heat lost in an uninsulated home is through the walls.
  • If you have a fireplace, ensure that it’s clean. 36% of all house fires start from a heat source, and a dirty fireplace is a major fire hazard.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace/water heater, or make sure the one you have is working. Don’t forget to replace the batteries. Undetected carbon monoxide leaks can be deadly.
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes, especially pipes near the exterior walls of your home to prevent them from freezing. Replacing pipes that have burst due to freezing can be very costly because of the labor involved.
  • Make sure you have candles, flash lights, and extra water and food in the case of an emergency. And be sure to know where your master water valve is located in case of a leak.

 

For additional reading:

About.com

Home Renovation Guide

American Home Shield

 

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