October 27, 2012
Prepare your house against winter hazards
Page 2 of 2
To prevent heat loss and snow-melt leaks during winter, check the caulking around chimneys, vents and other roof protrusions to make sure the seal is tight. Clipart.com photo.
Change your furnace filters according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Most homes are built with a one-inch filter which should be refreshed every month.
Clean your furnace before the first cold spell. If your furnace isn't too dirty, you can save money by vacuuming the blades yourself.
Get acquainted with your house's ductwork. Most homes are equipped with dampers, allowing you to change the volume of heat delivered upstairs, downstairs and all rooms in-between.
Disconnect your garden hose, shut off the water valve and drain the spigot -- even if you have a frost-free faucet.
Drain the sediment from your water heater. This should be done once or twice every year.
Repair any exterior damage that might invite pests. Carpenter ants like leaky pipes, warped storm windows and tattered roof shingles, whereas frayed screens and chewed-through door sweeps attract rodents.
Clear your garage of mice-magnets, especially if you have an attached garage. This isn't the place to stash woodpiles and unsealed birdseed.
Prevent a flooded basement by caulking any gaps in your sidewalks, especially those closest to the house.
Clean debris from gutters and downspouts. Open any roof drains or vents.
Check the caulking around vents and chimneys and other roof protrusions to make sure the seal is tight.
If you tend to have problems with snow and ice backup, consider installing electrical heat tapes to keep melted snow flowing off of the roof.
If you use an ice rake to remove snow from your roof to avoid ice dams, make sure you rake all the way to the roof's peak, or dams could form above the rake line.