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Winterize your home

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Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Fall is the perfect time to get your home ready for winter weather. By taking steps now, you’ll be able to stay snug and warm indoors by the time the first flurry flies. Here’s what to do.

Indoors:

  • Test your home heating system. You don’t want to find out it’s not working on the first cold day of the season. Be prepared for a brief smell as the heat burns off dust that has built up on furnace parts and ductwork. And don’t forget to replace the furnace filter.
  • Have chimneys and flues inspected by a professional.
  • If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, install one. The most basic model costs around $20. Change the batteries in existing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • Check the insulation around pipes to make sure it’s adequate to keep pipes from freezing. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can find videos online showing you what to look for.

Outdoors:

  • Check around doors and windows for gaps where cold air could get inside. Apply, repair or replace caulk or weather stripping if needed.
  • Step back and scan your roof. If you notice any missing or loose-looking shingles, call a repair company and ask for an inspection.
  • Clear gutters of leaves and other debris. If you’re unable to safely do it yourself, hire a service.
  • Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor spouts and, if you can, store them in a garage or basement. Automatic sprinkler systems need to be drained so they don’t freeze when temperatures drop.
  • Put a cover over your gas grill. Never bring propane tanks indoors! This includes the garage.
  • Make sure you’ve got what you need for snow removal. If you own a snowblower, give it a test start. Stock up on ice melt, and make sure you’ve got a good shovel with an ergonomic handle to help protect your back.
  • Winter storms can lead to power outages. If you own a portable generator, bring it outside and test it to make sure it’s ready to go when you need it.

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