Winterize your home

Winter is in full swing around the U.S. but it certainly isn't too late to do a bit of prep work to cut down on your heating bills until spring arrives. A few simple chores on a Sunday afternoon can minimize drafts, help your furnace heat your home more efficiently and save you money.

Take these actions to help winterize your home:

  • Clean your gutters. Gutters full of leaves and debris can cause ice dams, which means heavy ice and water will get backed up on your roof. Ice dams and standing water can lead to leaks or even worse, roofs collapsing.

  • Check the caulk around windows and doors. Leaks around windows and doors suck warm air out of homes. You should check the caulking and if it's worn down or pulling away from the edges, recaulk those areas.
  • Cover drafty windows. Taping heavy-duty plastic over windows and unused doors may not look appealing but can greatly reduce on the amount of cold air sneaking into a home.
  • Drain exterior pipes and turn off exterior faucets. Leaving water in pipes that connect to the outside of the home or in the faucets increases the risk of pipes freezing, which can cause hundreds of dollars in damage if the house floods. Also, don't forget to check your lawn irrigation system pipes for water.
  • Reverse ceiling fans. During winter, a clockwise ceiling fan can push hot air toward the floor to keep rooms warm.
  • Have your furnace checked and replace the filter.It's best to call heating and cooling professionals to come give the furnace a once over to make sure it runs as smoothly as it can.

  • Put draft guards under the doors. You can purchase a draft guard at a local hardware store or use a rolled up towel.
  • Review your homeowners insurance. If pipes freeze and cause a flood or ice dams result in a roof collapsing, you need to have a comprehensive home insurance policy to cover the damage. Give your insurer a call to make sure your policy is up to date and that it covers winter-related risks.

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