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Tips on Winterizing Your Home
Cooler temperatures remind us that winter is not far off. Itís never too early to plan for those long, cold months when frigid temps can play havoc with a house. Save these tips and use them as a guide to winterizing your home. Itís also a good idea to talk to your plumber or local hardware professional for tips specific to your home.
Start on the Outside
- Survey the roof, including the chimney, to ensure that it can withstand the weight of snow and ice. Look for damage, such as missing tiles or shakes. Check for loose masonry as well as smoke and water leaks around the chimney.
- Examine the soffits for moisture build-up.
- Remove leaves and debris from gutters. With a hose, check that running water travels directly through the gutter and doesnít leak out; make repairs if necessary.
- Check for nests in attic vents.
- Remove and store lawn furniture and ornaments. Outdoor grills should be covered or stored.
- Place a three-foot-high reflecting marker or other indicator by the heating oil fill pipe. Fuel oil deliveries move faster when the serviceman can locate the pipe in 14 inches of snow.
- Check that outdoor lighting works; replace bulbs as needed.
- Drain and remove garden hoses.
- Examine the walls and foundation for cracks, rot and missing siding.
- Remove screens and install storm windows.
- Drain and close exterior water lines, including those to an outdoor shower or a sprinkler system.
- Wrap exterior pipes and spigots that cannot be drained and turned off to prevent frozen and broken pipes.
- Clean storm drains and ensure that water runs away from the house.
Work Your Way Inside
- Remove window air conditioners or winterize according to the manufacturerís instructions. To block air flow, take off the front cover and slide in a sheet of plastic. Reduce condensation and mildew by allowing some air to escape at the bottom of the unit.
- Inspect your chimney for soot build-up; close dampers until ready to use.
- Check that windows seal properly and that weather-stripping is in good condition.
- Examine the basement floor and walls for cracks or leaks; seal as needed.
- Have your heating system serviced once a year or according to the manufacturer.
- Examine the hot water heater for leaks.
If you plan to reside elsewhere during the winter months, you may want to partially shutdown your home. In addition to the tips above, consider the following:
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
- Leave the temperature at its lowest setting, usually 45 to 55 Fahrenheit or install a low-heat thermostat to maintain the air temperature at approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit
- Turn off and drain the water heater; leave a reminder to refill before restarting.
- Keep the electricity on so lights will continue to function (put them on timers).
- Unplug the microwave, clothes dryer, televisions (not on timers) and other appliances not in use.
- To avoid large repair bills and the hassle associated with breakdowns, take the time now to develop an action plan for the coming months. Youíll feel secure in your warm home or while youíre away from home.
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