Tips for Preparing Your Home for Winter

Fall has arrived, which means winter is not far behind. Before the temperatures plummet further, prepare your home so you and your family can remain comfortable during the final months of the year. Here are several tips to help protect your home, your comfort and your finances.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans in your home, keep using them during the winter season. By reversing the direction of your fans so they spin clockwise, you push down warm air blowing from your vents. This is an especially helpful tip if your home has high ceilings where warm rising air may settle rather than stay down near the floor where you can feel it.

Clear Your Gutters

To avoid ice dams, have a professional clean your gutters and downspouts of twigs, leaves and other debris. Ice dams form along the edge of your roof and keep melting snow from draining down your gutters and downspouts. Over time, trapped water can infiltrate your property, leading to avoidable leaks that may damage your insulation, walls and ceilings.

Service Your Heating System N

ow is the time to tune-up your heating system, so you know it’s ready to keep you warm this winter. You do not want undiagnosed HVAC issues to lead to a heater breakdown during a cold snap. If that happens, it may take technicians a while to get to you, as there may be other unprepared homeowners experiencing heating system problems. No matter the season, regular HVAC maintenance helps keep your unit operational year-round, and you can get more use from your heater and air conditioner. Also, a heating system technician can help determine if you have a carbon monoxide leak in your home, which can be deadly.

Inspect Your Roof

After preventing ice dams from forming in your gutters, check the rest of your roof for loose, damaged and missing shingles. A damaged roof could lead to leaks from melting snow or a winter storm. If you feel hesitant about climbing up on your roof, hire a professional roofer or handyperson to handle the inspection. Doing so may be a great idea no matter how comfortable you are with heights, as a professional’s eye could catch problems you may miss.

Add Caulk Around Doors and Windows

Keep warm air inside your home where it belongs by caulking spaces around windows and doors. Silicone exterior caulk works well when you need to seal gaps outside, as the substance withstands the elements and doesn’t shrink. Besides caulk, add weather stripping to your doors to reduce drafts and heat loss.

Trim Tree Branches

Trim all tree branches growing close to your roof. Strong winds and winter storms can send branches tumbling onto your roof where they may cause damage. Even if long branches don’t come loose, they may drip excess moisture into any cracks in your roof or siding.

Do not wait until winter to prepare your home for winter. Act now during the fall to give yourself plenty of time to check off all the above tips.

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