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Winterizing Your Home

As the seasons change, you need to make sure your home is ready to anything that the cold weather will throw at it. Here are some Critical tips to help prepare your home for the winter.

Home winterization tips - winterize with insulation

The first thing you want to check is to make sure you're not - as your parents would say - paying to heat the outdoors, but making sure your home is properly insulated and winterized. Check your attic, walls and basement for adequate insulation. Feel around electrical outlets and switch-plates for cold air. Have a professional add insulation if necessary. Look around doors and windows for gaps and potential places where warm air can escape. Use caulking or weather stripping to take care of any problem areas. And consider having a professional replace old windows with energy-efficient double-paned windows. A ServiceMagic.com poll shows that only about 15-percent of homes have energy efficient windows, which could save you money on your heating bill.

Home winterization tips - winterize your furnace

Next, you want to check out your furnace. Keeping a clean filter on your furnace throughout the winter is essential to maximizing its efficiency. Dirty filters make the furnace work harder and may damage it. Having a heating expert check out your unit for leaks on a yearly basis is always a good idea. Firefighters will tell you that a dirty chimney can be extremely dangerous. Wood fireplaces can lead to creosote build-up in your chimney, which can lead to a chimney fire. Hire a professional to make sure your chimney is clean before lighting your first winter fire. Also, if you don't have one already, install some type of glass enclosure on your fireplace opening to reduce the amount of hot air that's being sucked out of your house when you're burning a fire.

Home winterization tips - winterize your pipes

Many people underestimate the importance of taking care of their outdoor pipes. Leaving water sitting in outdoor pipes through the winter could be disastrous. The water supply to your outdoor pipes should ALWAYS be shut off for the winter, and the pipe's drained. Even if you've been lucky so far, it only takes one winter blast to freeze a pipe, which can burst...leaving you with a watery and expensive mess to clean up. The same is true for your lawn's sprinkler system. Right now, you probably have water sitting in the underground pipes. If that freezes, those pipes could burst, too. A lot of homeowners do this themselves, but a professional will make sure that all that water is blown out, so you don't end up replacing some or all of your sprinkler system.

Home winterization tips - winterize your gutters & downspouts

Finally, make sure you keep your gutters and downspouts clear of all the fall leaves. If water isn't properly drained, it could freeze and cause big problems for your roof. Protecting your home from the harsh conditions of winter is critical. Spending a little time and money right now could save thousands down the road