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Steps for Preparing your Home for Winter Pt1

Winterizing your chimneyEach season can present a homeowner with certain challenges, but there is no seasonal preparation as important as getting ready for winter. The holidays give us a lot to look forward to, between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. A fireplace or wood stove only adds to the enjoyment of wintry weather and holiday celebrations; but without proper preparation, using a solid fuel appliance can quickly turn disastrous. There are many steps to take to be ready for winter, with or without a fireplace; and we’ve prepared a handy checklist for homeowners.

Clean Gutters

The falling leaves of autumn often clog rain gutters. Be sure to remove the leaves before winter. The condition of your home’s exterior depends a great deal on having rain gutters that fit against the house properly.

Examine the Roof

You can never tell when snow is going to accumulate heavily on your rooftop in winter. You may be able to avoid costly repairs by checking your roof carefully before winter. Have any damaged, loose, or missing shingles replaced or repaired.

Add Insulation

Studies show that approximately 2% of the air in your home leaks out through electrical outlets and switch plates. With the current cost of utilities, the impact of this energy loss can be significant. It is actually quite inexpensive and simple to insulate outlets and switch plates; we recommend doing so before winter.

Seal Doors and Windows

Another 10% of the air that typically leaks from homes escapes through windows. Keep warm air in and cold weather out more efficiently by sealing your doors and windows. If you can see daylight around your doors, weather-stripping is needed. Be sure there is weather-stripping between the window frame and sash. Also, reduce air leakage year-around by installing storm windows.

Prevent Ice Dams

An ice dam is created when the roof and eaves of your home have a different temperature. Air leaks are the cause of the temperature difference. It can save you a lot in repair costs to prevent ice dams, which cause a backup of meltwater in your home. It is common for the area around the chimney flashing to need better sealing.

Smoke Alarms - Check once a monthCheck Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

An essential safety step for winter is to be sure that the household will be warned in the event of smoke, fire, or toxic carbon monoxide fumes. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked monthly, to be sure they are working. Batteries should be replaced every six months. Follow manufacturers’ instructions on where to place alarms and detectors. If not placed at least 15 feet away from fireplaces and other solid fuel appliances, for example, carbon monoxide detectors will go off when they are first turned on, since small amounts of carbon monoxide are released upon startup. Experts recommend replacing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every five to ten years.

Don’t let the cold weather catch you off guard. Learn more steps for getting prepared for winter in this ongoing series.

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