2007-11-16 / Community

Tips For Winter Weatherizing Your Home

Some have already felt it. For others, crisp fall air and the biting cold of winter are just around the corner. As many Americans prepare to retreat into their homes to wait for the return of spring, they should also be getting their hibernation habitats ready, as well.

"Some things are a must," says David Lupberger - the home improvement expert for ServiceMagic.com, where millions of homeowners have gone to find local, prescreened home service professionals.

"Far too many homeowners ignore the winterization of their homes and literally pay the price for it," Lupberger said. "It doesn't take much for a small situation to end up costing a homeowner thousands of dollars."

Homeowners can do most projects themselves. But, Lupberger says, there are some things for which you should hire a professional.

"Most homeowners know to replace their furnace filters on a regular basis. But, there's more to it than that," Lupberger said. "I recommend having your furnace checked out by a professional every fall, especially as the unit ages. That person should have the tools to inspect every nook and cranny to make sure there isn't a dangerous gas leak."

Lupberger says there's a long list of things to consider for winterization. ServiceMagic has produced a short internet video on winterizing your home in which Lupberger gives the following tips:

1. Keep your furnace safe: Regularly change your filters. But also consider hiring a professional to make sure there aren't any dangerous leaks.

2. Don't pay to heat the outdoors: Make sure that your attic, walls and even your basement are properly insulated. Also check for drafts around window and door frames.

3. Clean that chimney: Have a professional clean your chimney. The potential dangers of a creosote buildup in the chimney should not be ignored.

4. Turn off the pipes: Turn off the supply to your outdoor plumbing pipes. And hire a professional to blow the excess water out of your underground sprinkler pipes. When the water freezes in an outdoor pipe, the pipe could burst. You should also consider insulation for exposed outdoor pipes.

5. Clean the gutters: If your downspouts and gutters get clogged with leaves (or anything else), water may stand and freeze in the gutters. That could cause damage to your roof. If you can't safely clean the gutters yourself, hire someone to do it for you.

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