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Prepare Your Home For Winter

Winter is here, and it's chilly out there. Unfortunately, the bitter cold can lead to some problems for your home's plumbing.

Here are some suggestions on things you can do to protect your home, which can end up saving you money in the long run. The cold can lead to frozen pipes. Experts say garden hoses can be a leading cause since ice can build up inside. So don't forget to disconnect hoses from outside faucets. Any water piping in the elements can also freeze. A simple and inexpensive fix is to insulate those pipes. Insulation is also a good idea inside your home. Be sure to look for hidden cracks and holes. Experts say that's where 25 to 40% of the average home's warmth leaks out. Winterize Your Home

  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.

  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.

  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.

  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.

  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.

  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).

  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.

  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

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