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Winterizing your home during the fall can keep you stress-free heading into the winter months.

9 Ways to Winterize Your Home

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As the leaves start to change color and the temperature begins to drop, you'll want to consider preparing your home for colder months. Winterizing your home in the fall can ensure that you feel warm and comfortable once the time comes to turn on your heaters.

Schedule a furnace maintenance check & prepare your space heaters
Keeping your HVAC system in proper working condition means having a professional come to your home to inspect your furnace at least once every year. Checking this off your list in the fall can help resolve any ongoing issues right before the time you will need your heater the most.

It's also important to prepare your space heaters before you use them during the chilly months. First, thoroughly clean your heater by vacuuming the intake and exhaust grills. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow out any dust that has accumulated on the inside of your space heater. Then, inspect the heater's cord and plug. If you find any damage, then discontinue use and replace with a new heater.

Clean out your gutters
As leaves fall from the trees, they might build up in your rain gutters, along with branches, twigs and debris. If water cannot flow freely along the gutters, you might notice a buildup of ice dams, which can damage your roof. Cleaning your rain gutters isn't a fun activity, but it's essential to ensure you don't need to replace your roof any time soon. If you don't feel confident doing this chore yourself, don't hesitate to call in professional help.

leaves in gutter

Hire a chimney sweep
When winter comes along, you may want to make use of your fireplace. Before loading up on firewood, hire a certified professional to inspect and clean your chimney. Using a chimney that has a buildup of flammable chemicals, such as creosote, can result in a dangerous house fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Add proper insulation
Your goal in winterizing your home is to keep the cold air outside and the heat inside. Go around your home, inspecting doors, windows or gas lines for cracks that might allow your heat to escape. Applying weather strips to doors and windows can help keep the warm air inside, so you can run your heater on a lower setting. Attics, basements and garages are particularly common places for gaps and drafts.

Stock up on disposable furnace filters
Heating your home often involves more frequent use of your furnace. This means you will need to change your furnace filter more often in the cold winter months. You may need to replace your furnace filters every one to six months, depending on how often you use your heating system.

Clean your air vents
When you turn your heat on, the warm air travels into your home through air vents. Especially if you are prone to allergies, make sure you thoroughly clean these vents of dust, pollen, pet fur or dirt. Sweep the air duct's interior and use a vacuum with a long hose that can reach deep inside the air vents. You will also want to clean the grilles, as they might also have a buildup of dust.

Bring your plants and outdoor furniture inside
Cold weather can cause some damage to patio furniture and grills. If your grill has a propane tank, disconnect the tank and store it outside with a grill cover. You should store furniture, lawn games and other exterior decorations in your garage or a well-insulated shed. Snow and ice might kill your favorite potted plants if they remain outside. Lowe's suggested that you move your outside plants indoors before the temperature drops to 45 degrees.

Prepare your pipes
Burst pipes are a disaster no homeowner wants to deal with. Insulating your pipes will lower your hot water costs and help prevent any bursts. Many hardware stores sell pipe foam, which you can cut and attach to your pipes with duct tape.

Install storm doors and windows
Adding these features can improve your home's heating efficiency by 45 percent, according to Nationwide. Before purchasing storm doors and windows, make sure you measure your door and window frames so you are sure to you get the right size.


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