Seven Smart Tips for Winterizing Your Home
Now that fall is here, it's time to prepare your home for the cold weather that’s just around the corner.
Follow these seven pointers to lower your utility bills and protect your home investment this winter:
Get a heating system tune-up. For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.
Check your roof. Or at least scan it closely with binoculars. Look for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that may leak during winter storms or from melting snow.
Caulk around doors and windows. If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Check the joints in your window and door frames, too. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.
Turn off exterior faucets. Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining any remaining water in the faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets, turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
Get your gutters cleaned. If your gutters are full of detritus, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim, as well as cause leaks and ice dams..
Divert water away from your home. Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least three to four feet away from the foundation,
Get your fireplace cleaned. Make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney, and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.