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Five Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter
1. Clean those guttersOnce the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home’s gutters so that winter’s melting snow can drain. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house.2. Check the furnaceFirst, turn your furnace on now, to make sure it’s even working, before the coldest weather descends. It’s a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually. Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly (check them monthly). A dirty filter impedes air flow, reduces efficiency and could even cause a fire. 3. Don’t forget the chimneyDon’t put off your chimney needs before using your fireplace. A common myth is that a chimney needs to be swept every year – not true. But a chimney should at least be inspected before use each year.4. Wrap those pipesA burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house and that the lines are drained. Next, go looking for other pipes that aren’t insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces — pipes that run throughcrawl spaces, basements or garages. Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores. If you’re really worried about a pipe freezing, you can first wrap it with heating tape, which is basically an electrical cord that emits heat.5. Finally, check those alarmsThis is a great time to check the operation — and change the batteries — on your home’s smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them — older ones in particular — with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the “test” button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
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