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Getting Your Home Ready For Winter

16.10.18 | Laurel Green
Winter is coming and is your home prepared for the cold months? These tips will make sure your space is clean and keeps your family safe . By being proactive, you’ll lower your energy bills, increase the efficiency and lifespan of your home’s components, and make your property safer.

Windows and Doors

• Check all the weather stripping around windows and door frames for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weather stripping, if necessary.
• Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
• Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

• Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
• Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
• Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
• Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
• Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
• Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
• Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
• Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
• Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
• Check snow shovels and prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
• Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.

Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

• Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly.
• Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
• Clean your whole house humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
• Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
• Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
• Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
• Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snow melt. You’re officially ready for winter.

Written by Iyna Bort Caruso for bobvila.com