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How To Prepare Your House For The Winter

October 29, 2014

Temperatures are beginning to dip, and many houses in colder cities have already started to switch on the heat.  What many people are not aware of is that there is more to preparing for winter than getting out warm clothes and finding the snow shovel.

By planning and preparing now for wintertime you can lower electric and gas bills, avoid having to make repairs when the weather gets worse, and keep your family safe.

How To Prepare Your Home For The Winter:

1.Have your furnace checked and replace the furnace filter.  An improperly functioning furnace could lead to a fuel or exhaust leak that could affect your air quality and might require messy remediation, as well as an unpleasant odor from residue inside the furnace when the unit first starts up.  Also, if you wait until the dead of winter when everyone else is calling you risk paying higher emergency rates and may have a long wait.

2.Check for places where cold air can get in (around windows, doors, and vents) and seal them if possible.  Place heavy duty plastic over windows or use storm windows to reduce heat loss through the glass and around the frame.

3.Clean the gutters of leaves and debris to make sure rain and melting snow aren’t blocked.  Blocked gutters could prevent water from melting ice and snow to drain properly and cause damage to exterior walls and the roof as well as increasing the likelihood of mold growth in the attic.  Make sure drains or downspouts face away from the house to avoid flooding and foundation damage

4.Make sure your attic has enough insulation.  Insufficient insulation can cause heat loss (and increase your utility bills) as well as increasing snow and ice melt on the roof that could cause ice dams.

5.Check your chimney if you have a fireplace and make sure it is clear and drawing properly.  Also check the fuel lines for gas powered fireplaces to make sure there are no leaks or blockages.

6.Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

7.Check your indoor air quality to make sure the change in activities and conditions does not impact your family’s health.  Increased time indoors and reduced ventilation can lead to a build-up of chemicals in your air.

If you have checked and completed all of the above, congratulations – you are now ready for winter!  Don’t forget that increasing insulation and reducing air leaks also traps the chemicals in your air inside your house.  Check your air quality in the winter to make sure your family is safe.