For large parts of the world, the winter season means snow, ice and cold weather. Winter also means rising energy bills and back-breaking shoveling. As winter approaches, there are steps every homeowner needs to take to make certain that their home is ready for the brutal weather. Set aside a fall weekend to winterize your home and you will be able to keep your energy bills down and reduce the amount of damage done by ice and snow.

COVER WINDOWS AND PATIO DOORS WITH PLASTIC

The idea of covering windows and doors with plastic is often dismissed as something that is only done in rural areas or by low-income families. The truth is that every homeowner can significantly reduce their energy bills each winter by adding an extra layer of plastic insulation.

One of the reasons why the plastic window insulation kits are so effective is that they create a thick layer of air between the windows and plastic that helps to keep out the cold. You can buy plastic insulation kits for your windows and your glass patio doors as well. No matter how new or well-designed your windows may be, you can make a significant difference to the comfort level of your home and your energy costs by using plastic insulation kits.

CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS

Some homeowners clean their gutters after the leaves have fallen from the trees, and some do not. If you do not clean your gutters to remove leaves and debris, then your downspouts get clogged up and the water will collect in the gutters themselves. As the air turns colder, the water starts to freeze and you get ice dams.

Ice dams cause two types of damage to your home. First, ice dams will cause water to back up under your shingles and leak into your home. Secondly, heavy ice dams will rip the gutters right off your house, causing a significant amount of damage. You can avoid all of that by simply cleaning your gutters after the leaves have all fallen off the trees.

WRAP YOUR PLUMBING

Exposed pipes can freeze and burst when the winter cold sets in. Many of your home’s pipes may be located near the furnace, but there are plenty of areas where the pipes do not get the full benefit of the furnace’s warmth. If you are able to reach all of your pipes, then you should wrap them in insulation. But if you are not able to reach every pipe, then you should at least wrap the pipes that are furthest from the furnace.

You can buy pipe insulation at your local home improvement store in pre-formed lengths that are easy to install. Wrapping your pipes in insulation is an inexpensive project that will only take a few minutes, but it could save you thousands in potential repairs if those pipes were to burst.

GET YOUR FURNACE AND CHIMNEYS INSPECTED AND CLEANED

If you have a furnace, then you have a chimney. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove along with that furnace, then you have at least two chimneys. Before the snow starts falling, you need to bring in professionals to look over your furnace and chimneys and perform any maintenance or repairs that need to be done.

Your furnace may need a new filter and your chimneys may need cleaning, but these are not things that you want to ignore. Take care of your heating systems and they will take care of you all winter long.

Winter can be a wonderful time, full of beauty and opportunities to get together with friends and family. To get the most out of winter, it is important to make sure that your home is ready for the harsh weather to come.

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