Gear Up for a Cold Winter!

Have you heard that The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which has been publishing since 1792 during George Washington’s first term, has predicted a cold and heavy-snow winter? This famous book is known to have forecasts that are traditionally 80 percent accurate! The almanac is predicting below-normal temperatures and above-normal snowfall during most of the winter across much of the United States.

So, with that being said, here are some tips to get your home winterized and prepare accordingly.

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Clean your gutters. Once the leaves drop, remove them and any other debris from your gutters to help the winter’s melting snow drain properly.

Plug the leaks. Caulk, weather stripping, masonry sealer, tacky tape, window insulation kits and door sweeps go a long way to fix those cracks around windows, doors and outlets. This small fix will help keep the drafts to a minimum.

Program the thermostat. Lower your thermostat during the times of day that you’re not home or are sleeping.

Check your furnace. You’ve probably fired it up by now…make sure it’s working properly. An annual tune-up and cleaning is recommended. Replace filters monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow.

Add some insulation. Grab a sweater and some fuzzy socks to warm yourself and be sure you have at least one foot of attic insulation.

Reverse the fans. Turn your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise to push warm air downward and re-circulate.

Install storm windows. Especially in our older homes, remove the screens and replace them with the storm windows or doors.

Wrap up pipes. Insulate exposed pipes in unheated spaces with foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation to protect from a pipe burst.

Seal the ducts. A professional technician can test your duct system to be sure they are properly sealed.

Get the gear. Move shovels, snow blowers and ice melt to a convenient spot in your garage. Put an emergency kit in your car too.

Prep the fireplace. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep firewood in a handy spot. Check the damper for proper opening and closing.

Secure the foundation. Seal entry points and crawlspaces to keep animals and mice from coming into your warm home.

Stock the pantry. Have extra non-perishable food, candles, matches, batteries and water on hand for possible power outages due to broken, iced-over power lines.

I hope these tips help you keep your home operating efficiently and save you some energy dollars over the winter. Just doing some simple maintenance and care on your home is so worth the savings!

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