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Winter Home Preparation Part 1

Chimney and Fireplace Winter PreparationIs your home prepared for winter? Think of this preparation like how you get ready for a big holiday get-together: the more preparatory work you do in advance, the more enjoyable the occasion because things are in order and the event runs more smoothly. From preparing your fireplace & chimney to sealing doors & windows, the proper preventative measures can make a huge difference. By preparing your home for the winter months, you’ll enjoy a smoother – and safer – season.

Here are some tips on winter preparation for your home.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

As winter approaches, make it a habit to put new batteries in all of these units within your home. (It wouldn’t hurt to do this in both the fall and spring.) Don’t place carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of fireplaces, gas appliances or furnaces, because these appliances emit small amounts of carbon monoxide when first turned on, which could result in a false reading.

Windows and doors

In warm months, bad seals on windows and doors aren’t that noticeable. In cold months, improper seals bring in cold air and let warm air escape, resulting in higher heating costs. Apply a good caulking around all window and door frames. Install or replace old weather stripping between the sash and window frames. If you can see light through the cracks of doors, add weather stripping there, too. Consider installing storm windows for the ultimate insulation.

Drainage gutters

If there are trees near your roof, likely there are leaves and debris in your gutters by the time fall is over. Cleaning out the gutters will allow for smooth drainage of rain and melting snow during the cold months. Gutters that are clogged will case water to back up and spill over the sides, creating a waterfall effect in places where you don’t want it.

The roof

With winter approaching, it’s a good time to have your roof checked for leaks. A roofing professional can inspect for loose, damaged or missing shingles. If you live in a particularly snowy region of the country, a proper inspection can also determine if your roof is structurally sound enough to handle the heavy weight of snow for weeks and months at a time.

Electrical outlets and switch plates

It is estimated that about 2% of the air that is lost from within your home is lost through electrical outlets and switch plates. These openings can also allow cold air to come inside. Insulating these small areas is not hard and can save you money.

Winter-proofing your homeYou’ve probably heard the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This principle applies to just about everything in life, including how you prepare you home for winter. Early preparation means saving time and money later.

Check out part 2 of this series for even more useful tips.

If you’re thinking of adding a fireplace or stove to your home, think of United Fireplace & Stove member stores first. Our experts can help you select the finest models with the perfect shape and design to add both beauty and warmth to your living environment. Find a UFS member store in your area today.

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