10 Easy Steps to Winterizing Your Home
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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