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“homeowners can get ready for the change in weather during the fall
season while the comfortable temperatures still make it pleasant to do the work."

Winterize the Home with Simple Steps

Difficult as it can be to believe, the crisp temperatures and beautiful foliage of the fall season yield to the cold and darkness of winter in the blink of an eye. Come winter, freezing air, howling winds and heavy snowfall can do remarkable damage to a home in a short amount of time, which means that homeowners should take care to “winterize” their home, in other words, prepare it in advance for the long, cold season. Weeks before the depths of winter arrive with a thud, homeowners can get ready for the change in weather during the fall season while the comfortable temperatures still make it pleasant to do the work. Here are some simple tips on what to look for inside and outside the home to make it winterized.

The start of winter means that homes need heat, which depends on keeping the furnace and fireplace in good working order. Can’t remember the last time a professional inspected the furnace and cleaned the ducts? It should happen every fall in preparation for winter. In addition, homeowners should stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly, and be sure to remove all flammable materials from the furnace area. For those with homes heated by a hot-water radiator, remember to “bleed” the valves by opening them slightly and then closing them when water appears.

Likewise, the fireplace needs to be kept clean, so call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Also, put a cap or screen on the top of the chimney to make sure birds and pests like mice stay out. Inspect the fireplace damper to make sure it opens and closes the right way, and look at the mortar between the bricks and tuckpoint. Then start to think about buying firewood or chopping it yourself before you store it someplace dry.

Heating the home is important, but it is equally important to keep the heat from escaping the house. Make sure to prepare doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from entering. Weatherstripping is a great idea for doors and it goes without saying that any cracked glass in windows should be replaced, and summer screens must be replaced with glass. In the attic, use extra insulation to prevent ice dams caused by warm air reaching the roof. On the roof, replace work shingles and titles, and be sure to clean out debris from the gutters by spraying water down the downspouts. Install leaf guards on the gutters or put extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

Finally, one important way to prepare for winter is to prevent plumbing freezes. Know where to find the water main in the event of an emergency. Drain garden hoses before winter begins and insulate exposed plumbing pipes. If going on vacation, remember to leave the heat on at a reasonable temperature in order to prevent finding an unpleasant surprise upon returning home.

Unpleasant as it may be for some homeowners to consider the transition from enjoyable fall weather to winter chills, the change of seasons is inevitable. However, if homeowners cannot control the weather, they can control how well their houses hold up to the harsh conditions of winter by taking simple steps to protect their homes inside and out.

RE/MAX of Tenafly

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About Orly Chen

  Orly Chen is a leading
Tenafly real estate agent
in Northern New Jersey
specializing in the Bergen
County area. Her
outgoing personality,
honesty and
approachability and
integrity make Orly
one of the most sought-
after agents in the
Northern New Jersey
real estate market

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