Winterizing your home

NOW: Winterizing your home

Milwaukee-(CBS 58) They are some of the easiest and most often overlooked keys to saving money on heating costs this winter.

The BBB offers the following tips for winterizing homes:

· Caulking and Weather Stripping. To prevent air leaks, homeowners should inspect the caulking around windows and doors to check for cracking and peeling. In addition, ensure that doors and windows are shut tightly and no cold air is coming in due to worn down weather stripping.

· Furnace. Furnaces older than 15 years might be due for a replacement. For newer furnaces, make sure the filter is clean and the thermostat is working properly.

· Ceiling fans. By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan so the blades turn clockwise, you push warm air down and force it around the room.

· Heating ducts. Ducts should be cleaned once every two years. Homeowners should also consider adding insulation to any exposed ductwork in order to prevent losing heated air.

· Emergency kit. When a winter storm strikes, an emergency kit should have all essential materials in one handy place. An emergency kit should include flashlights, candles and matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a battery-powered radio. Create the same emergency kit for the car as well, including a couple blankets.

· Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and install fresh batteries as needed. Homeowners should replace detectors every 10 years.

· Gutters and ridge vents. Gutters should be cleaned to prevent any clogs that would cause rainwater to back up and freeze, making the gutters expand and crack. The ridge vents need to be cleaned as well in order to help prevent stagnate air.

· Windows. Window screens should be taken down and replaced with storm windows; they provide an extra layer of protection and keep the house warmer. Investing in a window insulator kit is an inexpensive option to keep out drafts.

· Get a chimney checkup. Before lighting the first fire of the season, your chimney should be checked for animals, nests, leaves and other debris, as well as for any necessary repairs.

· Final preparations. Test your snow blower to find out whether there is a problem now rather than waiting until a storm hits. Prepare your snow-clearing equipment, such as shovels, salt, or other ice-melting products. Finally, don’t forget to drain outside faucets and remove hoses to prevent the pipes from freezing.

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