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10 Easy Steps to Winterizing Your Home

10 Easy Steps to Winterizing Your Home

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October 12, 2009

When the temperatures turn cooler, thoughts turn to winter--and for homeowners, that means winterizing home maintenance. Make certain your house is ready to tackle Mother Nature by following these winterizing guidelines:

  1. Fire up the Furnace. At the first hint of cooler weather, start up the furnace to make sure it works. Change the furnace filters at least once a month throughout the winter, and have the furnace inspected annually.
  2. Check out the Chimney. Have your chimney inspected every year. If you have a wood-burning stove, more than once a year is a good idea. Invest in a protective cap for your chimney to keep foreign objects and rain out, and when the stove is not in use, keep the damper or doors closed.
  3. Inspect the Central Heat and Air. The ductwork of your system should be insulated and connected well. If you see gaps in the ductwork of your home, seal it with metal-backed tape.
  4. Prep the Pipes. Don't give your pipes a chance to freeze. Wrap them with pre-molded sleeves or fiberglass insulation. If you anticipate very low temperatures, consider heating tape to protect your pipes from bursting.
  5. Time for Storm Windows. Taking down the summer screens and putting up the storm windows is a sure sign that winter is on the horizon. If your windows are drafty, a window insulator kit should work just fine for a temporary fix.
  6. Plan for Safety. Before you fire up the furnace or light the chimney, put safety first. Replace all batteries in smoke detectors, invest in a carbon monoxide detector, and have your fire extinguishers tested.
  7. Block the Drafts. Are there drafty areas in your home? With the help of a good breeze and a match, you can find where they are coming from, and seal them accordingly.
  8. Clean the Gutters. When leaves fall, gutters get clogged. Remove the leaves to allow snow and melting ice to drain properly. While you're at it, check the downspouts to make sure water is trained away from your home's foundation.
  9. Check the Insulation. Look in your attic--if you can see the ceiling joists, you don't have enough insulation. Make sure you have at least 12 inches of insulation for optimum energy savings.
  10. Reverse the Fan. It's a little detail that is often overlooked, but that can make a real difference in your heating bills. Simply reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air downward. You know it's in the correct position when the blades move clockwise.

With a little advance planning and maintenance, keeping your home warm during the winter should be a breeze.

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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