9 Ways to Prepare for Winter

9 Ways to Prepare for Winter

Here's a checklist of things to do to get your home ready for the change of season.

1. Check the batteries in your programmable thermostat. Don't come home to a cold house! Check the batteries before the winter weather gets here.

2. Check smoke detectors and change batteries. Make sure your smoke detectors are ready to work if you need them.

3. Install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. CO is a silent killer! If you have a furnace, fireplace, water heater or other appliance that is fueled by fossil fuel, the chances of CO poisoning from malfunctioning appliances increases substantially as houses are closed up for the winter. Exhaust fumes from an attached garage can also leak into living areas. CO detectors are inexpensive—just plug in and they could save your life.

4. Check your furnace filter: replace when dirty. Before the heating season starts, change your furnace filter. If you haven't had your furnace serviced for more than two years, now's a good time to do that also.

5. Inspect the fireplace and make sure the damper closes. Wood-burning fireplaces can get a buildup of creosote in the chimney. Have the chimney checked and cleaned if necessary. Close the damper when not in use.

6. Check weather-stripping. Check the weather-stripping around doors and windows and replace as needed. Leaks around windows and doors not only create drafts but also waste heat.

7. Check and clean gutters. Blocked gutters and downspouts can cause water backup. Clean your gutters of leaves and other tree debris. Check all connections.

8. Check and clean dryer venting system. Replace white plastic vent hose with metallic vent pipe.

9. Turn off and drain outdoor faucets. Disconnect and drain hoses. Install freeze-proof faucet covers as needed.