As the first snowflakes fall and winter approaches, it is important to ensure your home is winter-ready. The last thing you need is an outrageous heating bill! There are lots of simple ways to “winterize” your home without breaking the bank.
Interior: First, inspect your furnace and clean your heating ducts. Stock up on furnace filters and be sure to change them on a monthly basis. Next, save money on your heating bill by having your fireplace cleaned and ready for use. Screen the top of your chimney to keep out rodents and birds and store firewood in a dry place away from the outside of your home. Inspect the mortar between bricks to make sure that your fires remain contained within the hearth. And, ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
Exterior: Examine the exterior of your home for cracks and crevices which may cause cold air to seep inside. Apply weather-stripping around doors and caulk windows. Homes with basements and attics are especially prone to cold drafts. In basements, consider covering window wells with plastic wrap. Although it may be a bit of an eyesore, it’s only a temporary fix until the warm weather returns and the difference you will notice is worth it. Warm air rises, so adding extra insulation to your attic will ensure the warmth stays where it’s needed. “These small, but important steps will make huge differences in the long run,” says Yvonne Ratigan, a senior executive with Royal LePage Canada, “and may end up saving you a great deal of money on your heating bills.”
Garden: Ensure trees and shrubs that could be damaged by snow and cold temperatures are pruned. Move potted plants indoors and uproot bulbs that cannot weather the winter. Trim trees with branches that hang close to electrical wires. In the event of an ice storm, these branches could snap, causing damage to your home. Drain all garden hoses and seal driveways and decks.
These simple steps can help you to enjoy the winter without fear of damage to your home. Be prepared, stay warm, and embrace all that the winter has to offer.
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