Oct 5, 2010 7:45 PM
Like raking leaves and planting bulbs, installing storm windows and cleaning gutters are telltale fall rituals. But what else can you do to prepare your home for sweater weather? Which steps can you take now to make this winter safe, comfortable, and healthy?
To prepare your property for snow, cold, and inclement weather, buckle down and tackle these home safety chores:
"Clear out any overhanging limbs that could fall on homes and cars," he says. "In late summer or early fall go around and take off any branches that are hanging over the corner of your house."
To weatherproof your plumbing, shut off the supply of water to outdoor spigots, swamp coolers, and sprinkler systems, then drain them. (Depending on your irrigation system, you may also need a contractor to blow out any excess moisture with compressed air.) Also cover the outdoor components of your air conditioner or swamp cooler to protect them from the elements.
Some homeowners perform their own energy audits. But professional home energy auditors use specialized equipment, which can give you information about potential trouble spots. To find an energy auditor, contact your state government energy office or local utility company.
Many states and utility districts also offer rebate programs and other incentives to help you conserve. To start your research, visit the website for your state energy office and local utility company.
"Sealing up a house keeps everything inside," DeSoto explains. "People think they get drowsy after Thanksgiving because of the turkey, but all the carbon monoxide from using a gas range is going to stay in the house if it's not vented (to the outside)."