1. Get ready for winter storms. Who would have thought that Howell would see more than a foot of snow fall in one day on the Saturday before Thanksgiving? Given the polar vortex of recent years, not many people were surprised—nor were they ready. Be sure to inspect snow shovels for wear and tear in case you need to buy new ones, along with a pet- and plant-safe ice melt or sand. Check your vehicles to make sure you have an ice scraper on hand, and store them where you can easily access them. Consider buying a roof rake which is used to gently remove snow from your roof and more importantly, to prevent ice damns. Depending on how frequently you can shovel, consider buying some reflective markers to flag the perimeter of your front yard, driveway and walkway to your front door.
2. Set up snow-removal. Last month, we discussed ensuring that all walkways are free of debris. If you plan to travel during the holidays, consider hiring a snow removal service to keep your driveway, the sidewalk and the main walkway leading to your front door shoveled. Not only will your neighbors appreciate your proactive snow-plowing, but it will also help to deter burglars who are even busier during the most wonderful time of the year. With everything shoveled on a consistent basis, they are more likely to assume you are home even though you are out of town.
3. Stop all drafts by sealing windows and doors. Each year, the typical family wastes approximately $350 on air leaks according to houselogic.com. To start saving money and stop wasting energy, seal drafts around your windows and doors. You may have already installed weather-stripping in the fall, however often times, cold air can still sneak in. When you feel a draft, find its source and block it with weather-stripping or a draft snake which will help minimize your energy bills and maximize your family’s comfort.
4. Check the chimney. If this is your first winter in your dream home, you can skip this task. If you used your wood-burning fireplace last year, however, be sure to have the chimney cleaned before its first use—even if you only used it a few times last winter. Simply said, even relatively clean wood-burning fireplace chimneys can catch fire. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep expert inspect your solid fuel venting system annually, and clean and repair it as needed. Chimney fires are rather common so be sure to protect your dream home and schedule an appointment with a licensed chimney sweeper.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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