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Winterize Your Home for the Big Chill

hh image snowSlammed by Snowmageddon? Or maybe it’s just another dusting of snow? It’s truly a guessing game when it comes to DC winters.

No matter what’s in store for this year, your home needs to be ready! These winterizing tips will protect your home and save energy while keeping you warm and toasty. 

Doors, Windows & Attic
• Add or replace weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep out drafts.
• Caulk around windows where cold airs gets in.
• Switch out summer screens and install storm windows if you have them.
• Get a good storm door for your entrance.
• Consider getting plastic shields to protect basement window wells.
• Insulate your attic and look at the benefits of cellulose insulation over fiberglass.
• Switch to heavier curtains or shades during the wintertime to help keep rooms warm.

• Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney.
• Close the damper when not in use, but don’t forget to open it before lighting a fire.
• Cap or screen the top to keep out rodents and birds seeking refuge.
• Buy firewood but store if away from the exterior of your home.

Furnace, Ducts & AC Units
• Hire a HVAC professional to inspect and clean your furnace.
• Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
• Drain air conditioning pipes and turn off its shut-off valve if you have one.
• Hire a professional to inspect ducts for leaks in their joints; and have them cleaned if necessary.
• Ducts in cold spaces such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces should be insulated.
• Remove and store window AC units.

• Buy a programmable thermostat that allows you to set temperatures lower when you’re not at home or sleeping.
• To prevent pipes from bursting, never set your thermostat below 55 degrees.

Outdoor/Home Exterior
• Clean out gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Water can freeze causing them to detach from your home.
• Trim tree branches that hang too close to your home or electrical wires.
• Drain garden hoses and store them inside.
• Cover outdoor furniture or store it inside. Same with sensitive potted plants.
• Seal foundation cracks to prevent mice sneaking in.

Power Failures & Severe Weather
• Store flashlights, candles, and matches in easy-to-reach locations.
• Keep extra water bottles, nonperishable food (for pets too!), blankets and necessary medications on hand.
• Buy that snow shovel now and don’t forget bags of ice-melt and sand.
• Find the phone numbers for your utility companies.

Now, your home is ready for any surprise visits by Jack Frost and the Snow Miser!