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Drain water from fawcetToday’s “Ask the Expert” column features Charles Furlough, Vice President of Field Operations with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: Now that fall has arrived, what should homeowners do to begin preparing their home for the winter season?

A: While winter might be the last thing on your mind as long as the trees still have leaves on them, this time of year is perfect for preparing your home for the impending cold and all the damage it can bring. Following are a few proactive steps you can take before the winter winds start to blow, keeping you and your family safe and warm:

Outdoors

• Perform necessary checks on your home’s exterior. Shutting off exterior faucets and draining pipes, valves and sprinklers can prevent them from bursting.

• Ensure that your gutters are free of leaves and other obstructions. This will prevent ice dams from forming.

• Trim overgrown branches near wiring, removing the possibility of branches overburdened by ice falling on them.

• Check your roof for any damaged or missing shingles, which, if unchecked, can allow moisture and cold air to enter and damage other shingles, as well as the structure itself.

• Inspect your deck thoroughly. Remove detritus like leaves from in between wooden slats to prevent mold and mildew from forming. Also check for existing damage or decay, and treat or remove damaged sections that could allow for further damage after winter’s onslaught.

• Ensure that all openings and vents are clear of the accumulated debris that can amass during the year.

• Add an inexpensive extension to your downspouts that will divert water three or four feet away from your home to help prevent accumulated water damage to your foundation.

• Loosely wrap your air conditioner’s condensing unit with a breathable, waterproof cover to prevent damage.

Indoors

• If you use a fireplace, ensure that its flue system is free of any soot or creosote buildup.

• Scrutinize both your furnace and humidifier, cleaning them and replacing the filter and evaporator pad, respectively, if necessary.

• Bleeding the valves of a hot water radiator can release any trapped air, thereby increasing its heating efficiency.

• Reverse your fans to spin clockwise in order to blow warm air down and help keep a room’s temperature up.

A stitch in time saves nine—an adage that certainly holds true when it comes to winterizing your home before the approach of winter. The impending change of seasons also serves as a reminder to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries and your fire extinguisher. All of the aforementioned steps you can take to protect your home from the effects of winter are inexpensive and demand only a bit of time, ensuring your home is a safe place to hunker down this winter.

For more information, visit www.pillartopost.com.

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