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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Palmer

Prep your home for cold weather.

When the temperature begins to drop, consider these maintenance and end-of-season tasks that will help you winterize your home and protect your property.

1. Check the gutters.

Prevent ice dams by cleaning out your gutters, installing gutter guards and making sure your attic floor is properly insulated. The attic itself should be well-ventilated and about 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside.

2. Protect the pipes.

Protect against frozen pipes by insulating those that could be susceptible to freezing. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, keep a stream of water running in a few faucets to guard against freezing and bursting. To protect plumbing under kitchen and bathroom sinks, consider opening the cabinet doors so warm air can get in and around the pipes.

3. Seal the cracks.

Caulk holes and openings around windows, doors, air conditioners and mail chutes to help prevent cold air from seeping in. You can also install weather stripping for an additional heat loss protection method.

4. Stop the slips, trips and falls.

Keep driveways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow and repair any issues with steps and handrails. You can also be prepared for winter weather safety by keeping deicing salt handy for sprinkling on steps, sidewalks and your driveway.

5. Keep it cozy.

Set your thermostat to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure you have plenty of dry firewood on hand if you have a wood-burning fireplace.

7. Have your heating system checked.

Furnaces and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to clear any buildup and to keep them running efficiently.

8. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Residential fires are more common in winter, so it is important that all your smoke detectors work. Check them monthly and replace batteries as needed. You should also consider installing a carbon monoxide detector to avoid inadvertently trapping toxic gas in your home.

9. Clear the yard.

Keep the trees trimmed and remove dead branches and debris from your yard. Ice, snow and wind can weaken trees and cause branches to fall and potentially damage your home, car or even yourself and others, as we all learned in the winter of 2023.

10. House the hose.

Remove all garden hoses that are attached to the house, drain them and store them away. Shut off the valves and insulate the faucet.

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