Winterize Your Home!

Winter weather often makes us want to cozy up next to the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa and forget about the freezing temperatures outside. But before you settle in for your long winterís nap, itís important to prepare your house to stand up to the elements and increase its energy efficiency. Consider these tips for winterizing your home before cold weather arrives.

1. Clean your gutters.
Clearing your gutters of leaves and debris before it snows will make it easier for water to drain, preventing your gutters from backing up and freezing.

2. Ready your roof.
Make sure your roof is strong enough to withstand heavy snow accumulation. Check for missing shingles or leaks in the attic. Invest in a roof rake so you can safely remove snow from your roof while standing on the ground. Prevent ice dams from forming on your roof by making sure your attic floor is properly insulated.

3. Insulate your attic.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adding insulation to your attic is one of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round. Insulating your attic floor help keeps heat in and keeps your attic cool enough to prevent ice dams from forming.

4. Check for air leaks in your doors and windows.
Turn off all combustion appliances (i.e., furnace or water heater) and light a candle. Hold the lit candle near the frames of windows and doors. If it flickers, thereís a draft. You can also use a damp hand to test for drafts. Seal any leaks by caulking or adding weatherstripping to them.

5. Tend to your fireplace.
Before you light a fire, make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean. Consider investing in glass doors for your fireplace, which can increase energy efficiency and reduce the risk of damage to yourself and your home. If you donít use your fireplace, buy a chimney balloon to prevent warm air from escaping. Check the damper to ensure it seals properly, and close it when your fireplace is not in use.

6. Check your windows.
Cover the inside of your windows with plastic to keep cold air from coming in. Consider using drapes or blinds to prevent heat escaping through windows, or let the sunshine in during the day to warm up a room.

7. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan.
Your fan should turn clockwise during the winter. The fan will draw warm air up toward the ceiling and force it down into the room. You can change the direction of your fan by using a remote control or wall control. If your fan does not include a remote or wall control, look for a switch on the base of the fanís motor.

8. Protect your pipes.
It may seem obvious, but wrapping your pipes during a freeze is crucial. Water expands as it freezes and can cause your pipes to burst. Wrap your outdoor pipes with towels to prevent freezing. Disconnect and drain your garden hoses. Additionally, letting your faucets drip during a freeze will keep water flowing through the pipes and prevent them from freezing.

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