Is Your Home Ready for Winter?
The bitter cold of winter can wreak havoc on your home and vehicle if you’re not prepared.
Follow these steps on home maintenance so you can enjoy your winter.
Winter can be breathtakingly beautiful, but it can also take your breath away with anxious thoughts of blizzards, ice storms, and freezing temperatures. To make sure your home is prepared for the effects of cold weather, here are some DIY tips for weatherproofing your home:
• Take steps now to prevent frozen pipes later. Unhook all outdoor water hoses and drain them before storing. Cover outdoor spigots with insulated sleeves, and add insulation to pipes in your attic, basement, or crawl space, if needed. Find your home’s main water shut-off valve so you can access it quickly in case of an emergency.
• To minimize drafts and to keep warm air inside, perform an inspection around your home for exposed air leaks and seal any that you find. Inspect all door weather seals and weather stripping to ensure that
they are in good condition, and seal window frames tightly.
• Make sure your gutters are clear of any fallen leaves and debris.
• Winterize pools, hot tubs, and automatic irrigation systems.
• To keep your heating system running efficiently this winter, change your furnace filters per manufacturer’s directions.
• Vacuum your refrigerator’s coils to keep it running efficiently, too.
• Gather the coats, hats, mittens, boots, and umbrellas that your family will need for winter, and organize them on hangers, books, or containers in a closet or other area near the door. Keep a shallow pan by the door for depositing wet boots to help keep floors clean and to prevent slipping accidents.
Purchase shovels, ice melt, salt, and other snow removal supplies that you’ll need. If you use a snow blower, make sure it is maintained and ready to go.
• Consider the advantages of an American Home Shield® Home Warranty coverage for your home’s major systems and appliances. If a covered item breaks down due to normal wear and tear, a home warranty can give you valuable budget protection as well as access to qualified repair professionals.
Don’t forget to prepare your car for winter, too. Put together a winter road kit to have on hand in case of
emergency, and have your tires checked or change to snow tires. Make you’re your windshield blades are in good shape, and have your car’s battery, oil, and fluid checked.
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Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, American Home Shield Corporation assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage which
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Does your home need an alternative to traditional heaters? Then check out the pros and cons of alternative home heating methods
to see if one is right for you. Here are some of the best ways to stay comfortable this winter without fi
ring up your furnace.
Portable heaters are exactly what they sound like — heaters that you can move from location to location. The amount of square footage a portable heater can warm will depend on the model you use and the settings you select.
There are several advantages to utilizing portable heaters. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, small space heaters offer two primary benefits. • They allow you to save money by heating individual rooms only when they are in use.
• They allow you to boost temperatures as needed in specific rooms, such as a nursery or rooms occupied by the elderly, without raising the temperature throughout your entire home.
However, homeowners should take precautions when using space heaters. When warming your home with space heaters, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations.
Not only does a fi replace create ambiance in the winter months, but it can also be a good source of heat. Modern models aren’t limited to burning logs, either. Some are gas-
powered, and others even run on clean fuel like denatured ethanol. Create a fun family tradition of sitting around the fireplace in the evenings instead of the television — bonus points if you include marshmallows.
Also known as a masonry stove or tile stove, these ingenious contraptions resemble free-standing fireplaces. By burning specially-
formulated wood pellets and maximizing the radiant heating capacity of ceramic materials, a masonry stove can be a highly energy-efficient addition to your home.
Masonry stoves rely on small fireboxes that contain extremely hot, short-burning fires and an innovative ventilation system that circulates the fi re’s combustion gases throughout the entire unit. The bulk —
quite literally — of the heat they provide is stored and slowly released from the ceramics themselves. According to the Masonry Heater Association of America, most modern models can heat a space for
18 to 24 hours, even after its fires have burned out. However, this technology means that masonry stoves are very heavy. Before installing one, you’ll need to make sure your floor can bear its load
Of course, installing solar energy panels is one way to heat your home, but you can still harness the power of the sun without them.
Take advantage of your home’s orientation and use any eastern- and western-facing windows to bring more sunlight into your home. Simply pull back your curtains in the mornings (east) and afternoons (west), find a
sunny spot to set up in and enjoy the warmth!
Regardless of which alternative home heating method you choose, it’s always a good idea to check that your heating system is working properly. That means performing the manufacturer’s recommended preventive maintenance, regularly changing your filters, and otherwise taking care of your system and its key components. To further minimize the costs associated with the repair and replacement of your home’s heating
equipment, consider purchasing an American Home Shield®
Home Warranty. They offer fl exible plans and pricing that can help you protect your home, as well as your budget.
Water and rubbing alcohol mixtures (2 to 1) can be employed as cheap deicing agents.
Because alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than water (-128 degrees Fahrenheit!),
it is, even at what feels like room temperature, “hotter” than water at the chemical level.
As the alcohol evaporates, it releases energy, melting the ice. The addition of minute
quantities of dishwashing liquid can further boost the effectiveness of this alcohol-water
mixture. These same alcohol-water recipes also work to unfreeze door locks