Winter is on its way here, but is your home ready to manage the harsher weather? Taking time to tend to your home this season will not only protect your home against winter storms; maintenance will make your home more energy-efficient and more comfortable too.

Ready to get busy? Here is how you should proceed with your winter checklist.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety

Not only will working smoke detectors protect your home from fire damage, but they may also save your life. That’s why you’ve got to tend to them on a regular basis.

The same goes for carbon monoxide detectors. As carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, you need to be able to count on a high-quality detector to let you know when there is a problem.

Test your detectors to make sure that they are working and put in fresh batteries. Vacuum out the units; spider webs and dust can accumulate, interfering with their ability to work well. As an extra safety step, check that your fire extinguishers haven’t expired and are easy to get to on each floor.

Insulation and Ventilation are Top Priorities

A well-insulated home will keep you warm all winter long. Start outside and inspect windows. Replace any cracked panes; caulk or repair any loose seals.

If there are gaps underneath door jams, make them flush with your entranceway by raising the level with weather stripping. Look at conduits, outdoor piping, and vents to make sure that they are airtight.

Go to your attic and make sure that insulation hasn’t shifted over the summer and fall, which it often will if there has been a windstorm. Look for water damage and tears and replace them as needed.

Over the winter, make sure that you leave your garage door closed. You are letting the cold air get much closer to your home than you need to.

Make sure that moisture levels are reasonably low in your home because a damp home is harder to heat. A home ventilation system will help with that. Alternatively, you can crack a few windows open for about 5 minutes a day to promote airflow.

Watch Your Step

One of the greatest hazards you face in the winter is the danger of slipping and falling on ice. Keep a good supply of de-icing salt, or sand, handy to apply to walkways and driveways.

Make sure it is accessible; you can seriously injure yourself if you don’t apply it regularly.

This tip also applies to any outdoor plumbing, as many pipes can freeze and clog up, messing up your home’s entire plumbing system.

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