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Winter Home Checklist

Make sure your home is ready for the coming winter months

Winter is on its way once again. Let's take a look at a quick checklist for your home to help you stay cozy and safe this winter!

Winter Home Checklist

1. Make sure your heating system is functioning properly. Boiler systems should be checked every year, and gas systems should be checked about every 3 years. If you have a furnace filter make sure to replace them as needed to keep the furnace functioning properly. Generally, replacement is based on the size of the filter: 1- to 2-inch filters, replace them every 1 to 3 months. For 3- to 4-inch filters, replace them every 6 to 9 months. For 5- to 6-inch filters, replace them every 9 to 12 months.

2. Have your fireplace and chimney professionally checked / cleaned. If you plan to use your fireplace this winter, be sure to give it a check up! there can be many fire hazards in the chimney that can't be seen such as leaves, bird nests, and creosote build up.

3. Test smoke alarms 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. Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home. It's best to have smoke alarms in every room of your home, including hallways. Home maintenance should include checking the batteries in all alarms once a month - especially during these winter months.

4. Protect those pipes! When water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to burst. 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. Be sure that your heat is set to no lower than 55 degrees F.

5. Test your sump pump. Your sump pump will help you keep your basement dry during the wet season, so make sure it's working properly. Slowly pour a few gallons of water into the pit to make sure the pump turns on. The typical lifespan of a sump pump is about 10 years. There are also a variety of alarms available for sump pumps to detect a rising water level that becomes too high.

6. Prepare for winter storms. Power outages are common during winter storms, so make sure you're prepared with a survival kit. Stock up on bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, first-aid supplies, batteries and a smart phone charger.

7. Seal out those cold air drafts. With heating costs on the rise, you can take small actions to seal out those drafts and save money this winter. Air leaks can account for up to 40 percent of the heat expenses of a typical single family home. Check for air leaks around windows and doors. Replace any old caulking and weather stripping if necessary. Place draft blockers at the bottom of drafty doorways. Window insulation kits may also help you save up to 20% on energy costs this winter. You may also want to consider thermal lined curtains to keep that cold at bay.

8. Clear those gutters. Clogged gutters that are filled with leaves and debris will accelerate the process of ice damming and over flow when the gutters fill up with ice and snow. Make sure the gutters are clear for proper drainage and direct downspouts away from your home's foundation to help prevent basement leaks and flooding.

9. Prepare for snow and ice removal. Check your shovels for cracks and inspect your snowblower to make sure it is functioning properly. Purchase salt, ice melt or sand to have on hand for those icy days to ensure your safety outside of your home.


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