2008-11-28 / Community

Preparing Your Home For Winter Weather

Don't Be Taken By Surprise When The Cold Comes

The first day of winter is not until December 21 but many homeowners in the state may be taken by surprise by dropping temperatures.

"The time to winterize your home is before the cold weather really sets in," according to Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance. He said that taking a few simple steps now could save time, money and a lot of stress later on, adding "prevention is the key in maintaining a safe and warm environment and in minimizing the risk of winter damage."

The following recommendations should be considered when winterizing your home: (indoors) chimneys used for wood burning stoves and fireplaces should be checked for creosote buildup, because the tar-like substance can lead to a chimney fire if not cleaned off; a professional should check your home heating system both for energy efficiency and carbon monoxide (purchase a carbon monoxide detector for any nearby living spaces and affix it near the ceiling); never use a kerosene heater; if a space heater is needed, use only an enclosed heating element product with an approval label from an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories; nearly half of a home's heat loss is through the roof, so make sure your attic insulation has an R-value of at least 45; and weatherstrip windows and doors to maximize your heating efficiency.

For outdoor winterization it is recommended that homeowners: clean gutters of debris and fall leaves to prevent ice buildup that can back up under the roof line; drain swimming pools to the manufacturers recommended water level and winterized with the recommended pH level and chlorine, drain skimmer, heat filter, pump and piping; disconnect and store any water slides or diving boards and secure the fence and gate around the pool; close the interior shut-off value of any exterior water faucets and then drain any remaining water from the exterior faucet itself; disconnect any hoses and drain out any remaining water, insulate exterior faucets and pipes to help prevent freezing.

Additional information related to fireplaces, pool care, ice dams, preventing frozen pipes and other homeowner tips are available at www.response.com/safety.

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