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5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter this Fall

iStock photo
Oktay Ortakcioglu

Enjoy fall’s splendor and crispness — all while prepping your home for winter weather. Here are some important ideas on making your home winter ready.

1. Guard Your Gutters
Keeping leaves out of gutters is a must to prevent clogs, backups and winter ice dams. You can avoid this annual chore by installing gutter guards, which screen out leaves, twigs and seeds while letting water flow into the gutter and out the downspout. Some of the most effective types of gutter guards are relatively inexpensive. Do-it-yourself versions can be found at home improvement stores for $1 to $5 per foot. If climbing up and down a ladder isn’t your cup of tea, buy the guards yourself and have a pro install them for a few hundred dollars, which is significantly cheaper than purchasing the brands provided by dealer-installers, who may charge up to $30 per running foot.

2. Spot Paint Your Siding and Tidy Your Trim
Extend the time between needing major exterior painting by touching up any painted surfaces with cracks, chips or blisters. Clean the area thoroughly and sand lightly. Apply a top-quality exterior paint to keep your siding and trim looking new. When repainting your home, spend a little extra on high-quality paint, which lasts years longer than bargain-priced paint, saving you time and money in the long run.

3. Let the Sun Shine In
Sparkling clean windows let in lots of light and help lessen winter’s blues. Zip through this fall cleaning task by using a homemade cleaner made from two parts environmentally-friendly ammonia and one-part warm water.

4. Protect Your Pipes
Disconnect your garden hoses before the first frost to prevent outdoor spigots from freezing and cracking, which can cause major, damaging leaks. Drain the pipe that leads to the spigot by shutting its water valve. Then open the spigot to ensure that any water left inside the pipe or faucet is drained. Leave the water turned off and the spigot open until you turn the water back on in the spring.

5. Keep Out the Cold
Gaps around doors and windows are a primary cause of household heat loss, which can account for up to 10 percent of your annual heating bill. Top-quality, exterior-grade caulk can seal the leaks. Choose an acrylic latex caulk (approximately $5 for a 10-ounce tube) that’s formulated for windows and doors. To ensure good adhesion, seal the cracks and gaps on a warm (not too hot, not too cold) day.

Want more tips to keep your home safe and secure? Go here.

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