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How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

A home in good condition is one that is better prepared for the cold season up ahead.  Winters can be rough on our homes, but there are things we can do to ensure that we will be as comfortable as possible in an efficient home.
Regular maintenance is the key.  Some maintenance procedures can be performed year round and others are done on a seasonal basis.  Most of the tasks are quite easy to do on your own, but there are always professional home maintenance companies to hire if you feel as though you’re in a little over your head.  It’s a good idea to hire a professional to service your roof, chimney, gas and wood heating appliances.

Home Checks

Furnace Air Filters:  Check, clean and replace your furnace air filters (if needed) every month throughout the winter.  In the event that you have a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV), you should check this every 2 months.
Range Hood Filters:  Clean range hood filters monthly.
Humidifier:  Make sure your humidifier is set properly, and clean 2 to 3 times during the winter.
Air Vents:  Check your indoor and outdoor air vents to ensure that there is no build up of snow or debris and that the flapper dampers are closed.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Safety:  Clean and check your smoke detectors for proper function.  Walk around your home and check fire extinguisher gauges, lights (indoor and outdoor), plugs, outlets and electrical cords.  If a cord is hot or an outlet feels warm, make the necessary replacements right away.  Make sure you have a fire escape plan for you and your family.
Windows, Doors, Roof and Attic:  Examine all of your windows and doors for possible leaks and ice accumulation.  Wait for the spring to do full replacements, but in the meantime window and door leaks can be temporarily fixed with weather stripping or removable caulking.  Check your attic for insulation, ventilation and frost accumulation.  Check your roof for any gaps, separations or leaks, and be sure to repair these right away.
Water:  Visit your basement and check the floor drain to make sure the trap has water in it (refill if it doesn’t).  To keep your hot water tank’s efficiency high, check the manual for instructions on how to drain water from the clean-out valve.  Make sure your hot water pipes are insulated.  Check all of your indoor faucets for dripping and replace any washers if need be.  Clean the drains in your showers, bathtubs, sinks and dishwasher.  You can prevent seizing by testing your plumbing shut-off valves.
Take care of your home.  Use the winter months to make sure your property runs efficiently and comfortably.  Get in the habit of doing regular checks to ensure that everything is in good condition and operating properly.
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