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Make Sure Your Home is Ready for the Snow Season

Though this window of moderate weather is quickly closing, there is enough to finish getting our houses ready for the colder season that is around the corner.

Staying warm is a huge concern in winter, so having the heating system checked out by a technician is always a good idea. You don't want to wait until it's 10 below and have your furnace malfunction.

Choose an expert who comes with references and certifications that can be verified. On your own, change the filter and continue to change it monthly through the winter to keep the furnace in good working order.

If you have a fireplace, perhaps it's time to have the chimney cleaned and order firewood for the season. Whether you use the fireplace for entertainment or to warm your abode, you want to have it ready to use when you want to use it. Other fuel burning stoves should also have a once-over, be cleaned and have a proper fuel supply stored.

After you have checked out all your heat generating systems, cleaned out their vents and chimneys, it's time to work on keeping the heat that is generated contained.

Heat rises, so a simple strategy if you have ceiling fans is to make sure they are turning clockwise to push the warm air down into the room.

Next review your insulation to see that it is in place and doing its job. Plug up any cracks made by plumbing and electrical service entering or exiting the house. Review gaskets and caulking on doors and windows to see if it needs replaced or renewed. All these small strategies could add up to a lower heat bill in the midst of winter.

Water is one of the most necessary things we humans must have in our lives, but it can also be one of the most destructive.

As you do your pre-winter review, remember what plumbing tended to freeze and either wrap pipes with the proper tape or insulate them from the dregs of the weather. Drain hoses and turn water taps off that lead to the outside as these are easy targets for the "freeze and break" game.

Clean out the gutters so water can easily flow. This can prevent frozen dams on your roof that can destroy roofing and cause leaks. While you are cleaning out the gutters, give your roof a once-over to make sure there are no loose shingles. If you have a sprinkler system for your yard, winterize it as well. Cover outdoor furniture or store it out of harm's way.

Finally - even though there is not a breath of a snow forecast - shop for supplies you know you will need in a snowstorm. If you broke your snow shovel last year, get a new one, and if you need some chemical snow removal products, stock up on them. You can get to the hardware now but if we have one of those whopper snowstorms you could be limited in your travels.


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