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Winter Prep Guide: Your home

DECEMBER

  • Check for leaky fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms. Replace washers or cartridges if necessary.
  • Inspect caulking around sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
  • Make sure the door seals on your refrigerator are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, the latch may need to be adjusted or the seal may need to be replaced. Clean the coils (at least twice a year if you have pets).
  • Check and clean the dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood, and bathroom fans. Inspect exterior hoods for insect infestations and bird nests. (Make sure the vent is free from snow during and after major storms.)
  • Protect your home from frozen pipes by sealing air leaks and insulating rim joists with spray foam and ridged insulation.
  • Locate and mark the shut-offs for the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems.
  • Check the electrical panel for rust or water marks. All breakers should be turned off and on to ensure none have seized. Is the panel warm to the touch, or does it smell like burned insulation? Call an electrician. All circuits should be labeled.
  • Test all ground fault-circuit interrupters monthly and have a licensed electrician review the whole system every 10 years.
  • Clean vents and radiators of debris. Vacuum radiator fins.
  • Exercise your generator monthly. Keep the tank full and the fuel fresh with a stabilizer. (Make sure you always operate your generator outside at least 5 feet away from the house and facing away from doors, windows, and vents.)

 

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