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12 Home Maintenance Tasks to Prep for Winter

Winter is almost here and although we haven’t quite gotten to that below freezing point in Sandbridge Beach, you must make sure your home is fully protected! Winterize now and have no worries on those snowy winter days. Below are some tips for keeping out the cold air and safe from those snow storms.

1. Check out the chimney

Make sure you don’t only check your chimney, but have it inspected by a professional. Many blockages and buildups can lead to chimney fires. Be sure the chimney cap is intact, and your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper are all in good working condition before you light the first log.

2. Warm your water heater

Insulating your water heater can save up to 9% in water-heating costs. Especially when your water heater is in a cold basement or garage. The less a tank’s heat escapes into its cold surroundings, the less energy it uses and the more money you keep in your pocket.

3. Seal cracks and crevices

This is very important to keep that  warm air in and cold air out. It’s a small problem that could cause a higher heating bill. Expandable foam is a great solutions.

4. Stop ice dams in their tracks

Before the first snow, take one last trip up to your roof to install an ice shield (and maybe even your holiday lights, if you’re feeling ambitious). Ice shields, available at your local home improvement center, protect against ice dams — ridges of frozen water that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining — ultimately saving your roof from a whole host of seasonal problems.

5. Perform an energy audit

Schedule an energy audit with your local service provider to receive an analysis of inefficiencies that you may have overlooked in your own visual inspection. This professional assessment can lead to upgrades that can lower future energy bills by anywhere from five to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

6. Protect plants and shrubs

A reusable A-frame structure made from 2x4s and exterior plywood can protect many plants from the snowfall and ice. Wrap twine around tall and narrow greenery to save smaller branches from breaking off in heavy snow or ice. But snow isn’t the only winter force to reckon with: Don’t forget to protect small shrubs from strong gusts of wind by wrapping them with burlap and stapling the material to stakes.

7. Trick out your thermostatshutterstock_122111422 crop

Smart thermostat’s are the one new gadget worth the investment. It is the future and with the technology it can save you money. Some devices can detect when family members come home and adjust the temperature on the spot accordingly. These smart thermostat’s can also be controlled from your smartphone wherever you are!

 

8. Install weatherstripping

Eliminate potential drafts before they become a problem, and keep your indoor space extra cozy by sealing gaps around door and window frames with weatherstripping. Install door sweeps, which can prevent chills (and pests) from entering through the slim space underneath the door.

9. Prevent frozen pipes

Frozen pipes — and the waterworks, mess, and property damage that follow — top the list of the most formidable problems associated with subzero temperatures. Avert this winter nightmare by employing foam-rubber insulation to prevent the exposed metal from getting too cold.

10. Start your ceiling fans

Ceiling fans aren’t just for use in the summertime — they’re also effective in winter. In the warmer months, your fans should be set to rotate counterclockwise for a cooling downdraft. Winter requires a switch-up: Reverse the rotation so your blades spin clockwise to distribute warm air back down. And while you’re up there flipping the switch, it’s not a bad idea to dust a little, too.

11. Trim back trees

Large branches that loom over rooftops and power lines could cause problems if they collect enough snow and ice during the winter storm season. Overburdened, they may snap under the heavy weight, fall, and seriously damage whatever lies beneath. Save yourself some hassle and trim your branches back at the end of autumn to avoid these threats.

12. Replace furnace filters

The proper functioning of your heating system and furnace becomes paramount during cold winter months, when it’s vital that you stay warm and comfortable in your home. The starting point for regular maintenance is easy: Change your furnace filters often. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Change fiberglass or paper furnace filters every one to two months; an electrostatic or HEPA filter can be cleaned or changed closer to every two to four months. If you stock up on filters ahead of time, you’ll always have a supply on hand to keep your energy system in tip-top condition.

 

Full Article from Zillow.com :

http://www.zillow.com/blog/tasks-to-prep-for-winter-187099/

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