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A Checklist of Home Preparations for Winter

  • Fill in any gaps

    • use caulks and sealants

    • Although they’re the most obvious fix for winterizing rental properties, doors and windows aren’t the only cold-air culprits. Outlets and places where wires have been run in can also cause drafts. Fill those gaps with expanding insulating foam.

    • also It helps keep out rodents, bugs and other creatures who may be looking to escape the cold

  • check batteries often in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

    • According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating is the cause of 27 percent of structure fires during the winter months. So make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home. And it's best to have smoke alarms in every room of your home, including hallways. Be sure that home maintenance includes checking the batteries in all alarms once a month is always on your home maintenance checklist.

  • insulate pipes on outside walls

    • Exposed pipes that run along outside-facing walls are at risk of freezing. And the last thing you want in the dead of winter is a burst pipe. Cover your pipes with insulating foam.

    • To prevent frozen pipes, insulate pipes near windows, doors and in areas of the home that are unheated. Disconnect your garden hose from the outside faucet.

    • If you’re really worried, you can get an electric heating cable that wraps around vulnerable pipes and keeps them just warm enough through the winter months.

  • check roof

    • You certainly don’t want to find out you have a leaky roof after the first snow hits. A roof inspection can help you spot any potential issues.

    • Work your way around your house, looking for these defects:

      • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.

      • Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.

      • Missing or broken shingles.

      • Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.

      • Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.

    • Some roofing fixes are easy to do yourself, such as repairing shingles or calking flashing, if you’re comfortable working on a roof. If you’re not, you’ll want to consult a specialized roof inspector

  • check your furnace

    • replace furnace filters monthly → Dirty furnace filters reduce furnace efficiency and push up heating bills. They also shorten the life of a furnace.

    • Check and replace the furnace filter monthly in winter or every three months while the system is in operation. Your owner’s manual will tell you where it’s located. Hold the filter up to the light: If you can’t see light through it, you need a new one.

    • Servicing your furnace regularly helps you catch problems before expensive breakdowns, prolong the furnace’s life and keep it running more efficiently.

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