Winter is off to a mild start in many places across the country but, depending on where you live, that'll change soon enough. So take this time to prepare yourself and your home for the wintry weather ahead.
These helpful hints for winter-proofing come from Re/Max of New Jersey, the Washington (D.C.) Suburban Sanitary Commission, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Weather Service:
Fix broken windows, doors to the outside, and walls. Shut doors and windows tightly and make sure that they're well insulated.
Make sure that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated so that heat can circulate. This helps keep ice from building up in certain areas and causing damage to your roof.
Check the roof for leaks. If needed, consider having it coated to prevent water (rain, melted ice or snow) from seeping into your home. Also, clean the gutters so they can do their job.
If your home has a flat roof, have a good roofer at the ready who can remove accumulated snow before it turns to ice or causes your roof to buckle under the weight.
Install an insulation sleeve to protect exposed pipes inside your home. This will help maintain energy efficiency and reduce the chance of a burst pipe.
If your home has a fireplace, check it inside for cracks and buildup and remove old ashes. Also check it outside – for gaps between the chimney and the exterior wall and for loose bricks. Make sure that the damper opens and closes easily.
Keep anything that could burn at least three feet away from a heat source, such as a space heater or a fireplace. By the way, plug only one space heater into a single electrical outlet at a time.
Stock up on rock salt, de-icer, and shovels for clearing snow and ice from stairs and walkways outside of your home – and your elderly or disabled neighbors’ homes, too, if you want to earn good-neighbor points.