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Are you winterizing your home?

The leaves are falling, the sun is setting earlier and the nights are getting colder. It’s time to think about winterizing your home and preparing for the cold, snowy months ahead.

You can save money on energy bills and head off expensive home repairs by taking some time to check your home before the cold sets in. If you find something in need of repair, now is the time to have a contractor come in to perform the work. Some home improvement projects that are energy related are tax deductible.

Better Homes & Gardens and Bob Villa.com offer these tips for winterizing your home.

 

Clean gutters – Once the leaves stop falling, clean your gutters and downspouts of all leaves and debris. Clogged gutters can result in rainwater backing up and leaking into your home. Also, check to make sure the gutters are pitched toward the downspouts.

Give the heating system a checkup – Have your heating technician clean and inspect your heating system. A finely-tuned heating system will save energy and provide optimum heat.

Change air filters – A central air heating system should have its filter changed at least once a year. A clogged filter will reduce the system’s efficiency.

Turn off outside water – It’s time to bring in the hose. Turn on the outside faucet. Locate the faucet’s water supply shutoff valve in the basement and turn it off.  Drain the line to the faucet and leave the outside shutoff in the on position so that any residual water or condensation will drain and not freeze that could damage the pipe. Also, drain and shutoff the irrigation system.

Check the chimney and fireplace– Inspect your chimney and fireplace for any damaged bricks and loose or missing mortar joints. The chimney should also be inspected for creosote buildup. Use a chimney balloon to reduce drafts. If you have a wood burning stove, that also should be inspected.

Seal drafty windows – A lot of heat can literally go out the window. Use caulking or weatherstripping to seal drafts. You can use a window film that will seal the whole window. If you still have combination windows, consider replacing them with new, energy efficient windows. These new windows are insulated and tilt in for easy cleaning.

Inspect the roof – Have a contractor check the condition of your roof. Broken or loose shingles should be replaced. If your roof is in bad shape, now is the time to have it repaired or replaced.

Clean dryer vents – Clean lint from the dryer vents. Lint can build up in the vent and can cause a fire. A clean vent also improves the dryer’s efficiency.

Close the gaps – Use caulking or spray insulating foam to seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors, siding and the foundation. Spray foam expands providing a tight seal.

Insulate your home – Have a contractor check the insulation of your home. Insulation can be blown into walls to reduce escaping heat. Also, insulation should be installed in attics, crawl spaces and the basement.

Energy audit – Most utility companies offer free home energy audits for their customers. An inspection can determine if your home needs energy-saving repairs or upgrades.

 

Winterizing your home is easy and will save you money.