Stay Comfortable This Winter: Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter
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Getting a head start on winter probably isn’t on your holiday list. However, taking care of a few things around the home before winter rolls around is always wise.

Make the transition into winter more bearable by following these tips:

Before the cold weather becomes unbearable step outside and clean your gutters. Doing so will prevent ice damming. While you’re out there you may want to put your outdoor furniture away or cover it to help preserve it from the harsh winter elements.

Seal drafty windows with caulk. Caulking gaps to prevent air from coming in may help you save on your energy bills.

Insulating is key

Insulate your home. Insulation not only keeps your home warm but it also helps protect your home.  If too much heat escapes the interior of your home, the warm air can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof and then refreeze.  As this process is repeated the buildup of ice can result in excess weight and could potentially compromise your roof.  (Ideally your attic should be 5- 10 degrees warmer than the air outside).

Wrap your water heater. Unless you work in the heating and cooling industry we doubt your water heater made it onto your gift-giving list. However, your water heater is more than likely one of the biggest energy users in your home. If your water heater is located in a drafty or unheated area of your home, you may want to maximize your system’s efficiency and add an insulated blanket to your list.

Wrap pipes with heating tape or pipe insulation before the onset of freezing temperatures. Severe cold weather can cause a great deal of damage to a home’s plumbing. Always keep your home above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and keep cabinet doors open to expose under the sink pipes during bouts of extremely cold weather.

Have your duct system properly sealed and insulated.

Have a professional check your heating system to ensure it’s in good working order. By checking leaks or broken parts and making necessary repairs, a certified technician can prevent potential problems. Schedule a tune-up for your furnace. If there is a problem with your system you will want to know before there is several feet of snow outside.

If you use a space heater, take precautions to avoid fires or other problems.  Space heaters should be approved by a certified testing organization. They should be kept at least 3 feet away from flammable objects, such as furniture, curtains, rugs or clothing, to prevent fires.  Also, children should be carefully monitored when near space heaters. The potential for fires in the home increases during the winter months. Families need to be prepared in case a fire does begin in the home. Every home should have smoke detectors. Inspect them on a regular basis and change the batteries twice a year.