Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

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    (StatePoint) With winter approaching, many Americans miss a few small, but crucial, ways to prepare their homes for the colder season.

    “Some homeowners occasionally forget to or don’t realize they should winterize their homes,” says Leonard Kady, Principal of Leonard Kady Architecture, Interiors & Planning and chair of the American Institute of Architects Small Projects Practitioners committee. “Prepping your home properly for the season could save you the expense of repairing and painting after a harsh winter.”

    To help you prepare, Kady offers some helpful advice:

    Check Fireplaces

    Make sure you keep fireplace dampers closed to protect against drafts. Leaving a damper open is the equivalent of leaving a window open.

    Installing glass panels over the fireplace will also help keep drafts to a minimum and ultimately save you money on heating costs.

    Clean the Gutters

    During winter, ice can build up in gutters and in order for the ice to melt and drain properly, the drains must be clear. Take time to clean your gutters now to prevent them from clogging or even bursting once colder temperatures set in.

    Clear Outdoor

    Watering Systems

    Water trapped in an outdoor faucet or irrigation system can cause a pipe to burst if ice settles inside. Make it part of your winterizing routine to ensure that outdoor plumbing and pipes are clear before the temperatures start to drop. It can be a tricky task, so you may want to bring in a professional to help.

    Keep Off the Snow

    Keeping your exterior walls clear of snow, especially on homes that have wood siding, could mean the difference between having to do another paint job or replace siding once the snow melts. This water damage can be easily avoided with regular maintenance.

    Use Programmable Thermostats

    Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to prepare for winter. They are reasonably universal to install and allow you to program temperatures that make sense for your home — such as keeping it cooler during the day when no one is home.

    Get Help

    An architect can check your home for pockets of energy inefficiency. To help ready your home for the winter months, find an architect in your area by visiting http://architectfinder.aia.org/.

    Preparation now can save you time and money later. This season, don’t forget to winterize your home.

    PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Nic Lehoux

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