Preparing your home for the winter

November 20, 2007 12:45:11 PM PST
Taking the time to prepare your home for the cold weather ensures comfort in the months ahead and saves you money as well.

Consider these tips: Test your heating system before you need it. Some manufacturers suggest having systems inspected annually and doing it before the heating season begins can avert problems during the winter months. Replenish your fuel supply (wood, coal, oil or propane) before prices increase for the season. Inspect your hot water heater. Refer to your owner's manual to determine what to check as these items will differ depending on the type of heater you use. Insulate against drafts. This is one of the most important tasks you can do to ensure maximum comfort and energy efficiency. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic. Caulk or install weatherstripping around doors and windows and seal any cracks or openings that formed since last winter. Insulate electrical outlets and switch plates with plugs and insulation pads designed for such use.

Clean and inspect wood and coal burning stoves. Make sure doors are properly sealed, the flue is in good condition and the chimney is clean.

Drain outside water connections. Drain and store hoses for the winter and disconnect outside water supplies to prevent frozen pipes.

Test and clean smoke detectors. The use of portable heaters and other sources of supplementary heat dramatically increases the incidence of fire. Make certain all smoke and heat detectors are in proper working condition by testing or replacing the batteries and by cleaning unitsof and removing all dust particles.

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