5 Ways to Prep your House for Winter

You may think that getting ready for winter involves nothing more than stashing the swimsuits and pulling out the heavy coats. Yet, one of your biggest investments, your home, needs a bit of prep to get ready for the cold season as well.

Winter weather can be tough on a home's systems, and there are several reasons to winterize your home. A well-prepped home can save a lot of money on energy bills. Also, properly preparing a home can prevent costly damage down the road. Here are just five things that you can do to prep your home for the coming cold snap.

1. Clean Out the Gutters

The gutters on your home should be inspected and cleaned twice per year - in the fall and the spring. Leaf and debris build-up in your gutters can block them from performing their intended function which is to move water away from your home through the downspout. If they are blocked or damaged, water could leak into your home or damage your roof, causing costly damage.

2. Check the Heating System

Whether you heat your home with a furnace or a boiler, you'll want to make sure that your system is in top shape for the coming season. This usually requires the services of a professional at least once a year to perform an inspection and check for parts that may need replacement. Aside from this, make sure that heating vents around your home aren't blocked and inspect ductwork for rips and tears that can be easily repaired.

3. Window Maintenance

Did you know that leaks in windows can cost you as much as an additional 10 percent on your energy bills each month? Not only are leaky windows costly, but they also allow humidity and moisture, outside noise, and unwanted pests to enter your home. The best news is that drafts and leaks in windows are both easy to identify and inexpensive to fix.

Identify leaks either by looking for pooled condensation at the bottom corner of the window or by holding up a small tea candle next to the window seam to detect air flow. If the window seal needs replacement, you'll need to remove the old caulking and apply a new seal to close the gap.

4. Check Your Insulation

Windows are major culprits, but they aren't the only place in your home that allows energy to escape. In fact, most homes in the U.S. are under-insulated and adding home insulation is one DIY project that pays off in spades. Check your attic to see if you can beef up your home's insulation. You can also save energy by wrapping an energy blanket around your hot water heater.

5. Prepare the Lawn & Garden

As winter approaches, it's time to store away or cover the deck furniture. If you maintain gardens, prepare them for the winter season and then put garden tools in the garage or shed until spring. Winterize and store the lawnmower and drain the water from outdoor faucets and garden hoses.

Old man winter may be calling from a distance, but you still have plenty of time to jump on these tips for your home to both save energy and prevent some costly repairs in the future.

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