It is important at this time of year in Ohio to think about winter home preparation and maintenance. As the temperatures drop and we have intermittent snow and ice, your home has needs to keep it in great shape through the winter. So if you haven't done anything yet, here are a few things to think about. You should seal off your house during the colder months. Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering and caulk around windows. Replace any cracked glass in windows or doors. If your home has a basement, invest in plastic covers for protection of the window wells. All these steps will seal off your home from the cold and help keep the cost of heating your home low. Next check the furnace. Call your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to inspect and clean your furnace. You should change your furnace filter monthly. Because the furnace will be running during the winter months, make sure all flammable materials are away from the area around the furnace. Check the fireplace to make sure that the "cap" or "screen" on the top of the chimney is closed to keep out rodents and birds. If your chimney has not been cleaned since last winter, make sure you call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Then you are ready to strike up a fire. Checking roofs, gutters and downspouts will protect your home from winter damage. Make sure to check for worn roof shingles or tiles and replace them to prevent leaks. Clean the gutters of leaves and debris, and install leaf guards onto the gutter so that water is directed away from the house. You should also trim tree branches away from the house or any electrical wires. It is also a good ideat to have working fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Test each of them to ensure they are working properly. You want to make sure that you have both detectors next to the furnace and water heater. You might consider buying a fire extinguisher or replace one that is older than 10 years, in case of emergencies. With the cold weather, freezing pipes is a homeowner's worst nightmare. To prevent pipes from freezing this winter, make sure you drain the water out of all garden hoses and air conditioner pipes. If your AC has a water shut-off valve make sure to turn it off, and remember to leave the heat on when if you are going away for the holidays. You should leave it set at 55 degrees to prevent freezing pipes. By maintaining your home you can enjoy the winter months and the holidays without the added stress of home repairs.
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