Winterizing Your Home: A Fortress Against the Elements!

While preparing your home for freezing weather isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, fall is the time to start thinking about winterizing your home.  Having your sprinkler system burst from frozen lines or discovering your heat doesn’t work just when just you need it, is something we can all avoid.

Here are some key items to consider when winterizing your home-

Heat test:  Turn your thermostat to heat mode an ensure it functions when you turn up the dial.  You should hear the furnace turn on!

Replace the air filter:  It is a great time to replace the air filter with a new one and doing so will ensure better air-flow and that cleaner air is being circulated in your home.  It is not a bad idea to mark your calendar to replace the air filter once a month.

Fuel supply:  Ensure you have sufficient oil or propane for your furnace.

Clean and cover condensing unit:  Ensure all debris in and around the condensing unit is cleared, and consider covering the unit with approved material to prevent damage to the unit.  Wet leaves and other debris often leads to rusting and freezing of internal parts.

Remove window air conditioners:  Window air conditioners are very difficult to seal and may lead to serious winter drafts.  It is always best to remove and store for the winter.

Water supply pipes:  Water lines are most susceptible to cold weather, and burst pipes can cause serious damage to a home and be very costly to a homeowner.  Remember to review the plumping pipes in your home.  Experts suggest insulating exposed piping (crawl space, attic) with a foam insulating sleeves.  In addition, turn off exterior faucets from inside the house and drain the water from them by opening the exterior faucets.  Hose bibs can also be secured with an insulated cover.  Of course, disconnect your garden hose from the house and drain them as well.

Chimney maintenance:  If you use your fireplace regularly, you probably ought to have the chimney cleaned.  If you opt to do your own light maintenance, there are several items to consider.  First, ensure the damper opens and closes fully and that it can be locked into position.  Also make sure that the chimney is clear of any debris.  Nests and/or small animals are often problematic.  You can check this by checking the chimney draft.  By using a newspaper, open damper and ensure smoke will draw up. If it does not, you may have an obstruction.  And don’t forget to inspect the brick every now and again- if there are open mortar joints, have it repaired by a professional.

Finally, now might also be a good time to check your carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure they are still functional and if battery operated, consider swapping out the battery even if they are still in use.

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