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Top 5 Tips to Winterize Your Home

Whether there is only a slight chill in the air or you are already shoveling snow, make sure to check out these tips to help keep your home protected.

Couple sitting near their fireplace.

1. Prepare Your Fireplace

You need to make sure there are no living creatures nestled inside and ensure any buildup is removed before lighting your first fire of the season. Make sure to get your chimney serviced and cleaned out. Also, use this opportunity to make sure your flue is in good operational order so your warm air doesn't escape through your chimney.

2. Double Check Your Smoke, Fire, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

As winter sets in, you want all of these items in good working order. Each one can save precious lives in its own way so make sure that the batteries are fresh and there's one of each on every floor of your home.

3. Clear Out Your Gutters

Not only is it unsightly to have an abundance of leaves, twigs, and baby trees growing in your gutter, it can become a risk to the structural integrity of your home. During the winter, these things are weighty enough. The problem is leaves, twigs, and debris can clog the gutters, stalling the flow of water out.

Water that remains in the gutters then freezes, thaws, then refreezes, damaging your gutters and the exterior walls of your home. Over time, this can create entryways where water comes into your home causing mold and mildew. Not only do you want to clean them out before the first freeze takes place, but you might want to consider installing gutter guards to help shield your gutters from debris that would otherwise keep them clogged.

4. Seal Your Outdoor Pipes and Water Sources

AARP reminds us that winter can be particularly destructive for outdoor water faucets and exposed pipes. Make sure you cut off water supplies to the outdoor water fixtures (with the fixtures opened to release any water remaining in the pipes) before freezing temperatures arrive. Insulate pipes running along outside walls to protect them from freezing — and potentially bursting — during the coldest winter temperatures.

5. Apply Caulk and Weather Stripping

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that applying caulk and weather stripping along doors and windows can help prevent cold wind from coming into your home through these mediums and warm air from escaping the same way. Not only will this practice help you keep your home more comfortable throughout the winter, but it can also help you save money on heating costs.

Whether winter weather seems to last only a few weeks in your neck of the woods or it feels like it goes on forever, taking the right precautions now to prepare your home for winter can save you time and money later.

One more thing to mark off your winterization to-do list? Revisit your homeowner's insurance by calling your independent insurance agent to make sure it's up to date and the coverage is sufficient for the current value of your home and belongings.

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