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Preparing your home for winter.

We all know we need to prepare for winter with winter clothes, hats, boots, gloves, and jackets. But do you know how to prepare your home?

Here are 12 things you should check on to get your home ready for the cold winter months:

1- Snow Blower– Consult the owner’s manual and give the snow blower a thorough preseason check-up

2- Ceiling Fan– Switch the direction of the blade to spin clockwise; run at low speed to circulate warm air down from the ceiling. Remember, warm air rises and cool air descends, so the direction your fan spins depends on the season.

3- Furnace and Thermostat– Give the system a full test and, if needed, consult a technician for a tune-up before the system requires daily use. If you haven’t already, install (or pay a pro to install) a programmable thermostat that can automatically lower the temperature when people aren’t home. ( lowering the thermostat by 10-15 degree for 8 hours could save as much as 15% a year on heating costs)

4- Air Conditioners– Cover window units or remove them entirely so you can close windows completely and prevent drafts. Cover your exterior central AC units.

5- Storm Doors– Remove the screen from storm doors and replace them with the glass panels. If you have permanent screens, consider storm doors with replaceable panels.

6- Rodents– Seal all holes and cracks around the exterior to help ensure pests like squirrels and mice can’t get inside.

7- Water– Shut off the water to exterior faucets and drain the lines to help prevent freezing and pipe bursts.

8- Pool– Clean out any leaves, insects, dirt and other debris, and drain most of the water. But be sure not to totally empty the pool.

9- Block Drafts– Use weather stripping, window film, and caulk to control heat loss around doors, windows and baseboards. (Reducing drafts could save up to 30% in energy costs per year.)

10- Chimneys– If you have a working fireplace, get your chimney cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep, as this will help decrease the risk of fire from buildup or blockages.

11- Door Locks– Spray exterior door locks with a powdered-graphite lubricant to help keep them from freezing and sticking in extreme cold.

12- Water Heater– Consider lowering the temperature on your water heater. Most are set at 140 degrees, but some households only need a setting of 120 degrees for comfort. A lower temperature also may help reduce wear and tear on the pipes. ( You could save as much as $30 per year for every 10 degrees the temperature is lowered)

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