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Winter's Coming! Be Prepared For A Long, Cold Season

Sep 19, 2011 02:49PM ● By Erin Frisch
Button up—winter’s coming! Make a list and head outside (while you still can). Clear leaves and vegetation from foundations, and seal cracks where critters can enter—mice need only a dime-sized door! Check sills for dry rot and pests, then trim branches hanging too close to the house.

Good-bye lawnmower, hello snowblower. Drain the gas from the mower and tune up the blower. Got snow shovels? Ice melt? Roof rake? Zip up windows and doors with weather-stripping or caulk. Clean out gutters and downspouts. Drain garden hoses, turn off outdoor spigots, and insulate exposed plumbing pipes.

Got a fireplace or woodstove? Have chimneys cleaned to avoid fires from creosote buildup, then screen them to avoid rodent and bird buildup. Stack firewood away from your home’s sidewalls. Inside, check stovepipe connections and fireplace dampers. Where the temperature drops below freezing, add attic insulation to prevent ice dams on your roof.

Have an HVAC professional inspect and clean your heating system, then stock up on furnace filters—and change them monthly. Carbon monoxide detectors are lifesavers; install one near your furnace. For hot-water radiators, bleed the valves: open, then close when water appears. Replace batteries in smoke detectors and fire extinguishers older than 10 years.

If you have ceiling fans, reverse the blades’ direction—clockwise pushes rising warm air downward.

Be ready for power outages with plumbers’ candles, matches, and flashlights. Then curl up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate!

Written by Elaine Ambrose

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