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You have heard of "winterizing" your car, haven't you.  Little things like making sure the antifreeze is protecting your engine well below freezing, Gas stabilizers or adding gas line antifreeze to the gas. Check the tread depth on your tires and replace if necessary.  These are a part of the process of "Winterizing" your car.

Here are a few tips on "Winterizing your house." (Some of which will reduce the risk of an insurance loss by water or fire.

1.  Disconnect the garden hoses from the outside spigots and turn off the inside water flow valves (If  you have them)    This will prevent the water supply pipe to the outside from freezing.  Otherwise, the pipe will freeze and rupture inside the wall of the house.  When the pipe thaws there will be a severe water leak into the basement.  If the basement is finished or has personal items stored, water damage will result.
 2.  To even out the air temperature in the house, close or partially close off the upstairs heat vents and open the vents on the lower floors and/or basement.  Since heated air rises, this action forces more warm air into the lower floors that will naturally rise to the upper level.  You may have to "play" with the amount of adjustment for a  day or two in order to make the house uniformly comfortable. (In Summer with the AC on, reverse this process.
 3.  Inspect weather stripping around exterior doors and windows.  Replace worn or missing weather stripping as necessary.  Look for light coming in around doors, especially the bottom.  Add door "sweeps" as needed.
 4.  Watch for air leaks around windows.  Some windows leak enough air that on a windy day the curtains will move.  Shrinkable sheet plastic window covers properly installed will keep the cold air out and the warm in.  Sliding patio doors that are not used in Winter can allow a lot of cold air into the house.  There are kits for large openings available as well.
 5.  Keep a supply of ice melt accessible close to walk ways and drive ways.
 6.  Be sure gutters and down spouts are open and free of leaves and debris.  This will allow rain and snow/ice melt to flow off the roof and reduce the risk of ice dame that can cause water leaks into the house.
 7. If you have a snow thrower, keep a full can of gas handy and be sure the thing will start.
 8.  Change your furnace filter.  Have your cleaned and inspected.
 9. if you have a wood burning fireplace and rely on it to reduce your heating bill,  have the flu inspected and cleaned by a professional.  Use only seasoned wood property stacked on the  log rack.  Open the damper before starting the fire. Use a fire place screen or glass door.  Place a fireproof mat in front of the hearth.  Keep a quality fire extinguisher close by to fire place.  Do not leave the fire unattended, especially if leaving the house or going to bed.  When cleaning out the ashes, be sure there are no hot embers hidden in the ashes.  Do not place ashes in your plastic trash dumpster, rather in a metal container located outside the house.  This reduces the risk of a fire in your trash can or in the trash truck that picks up your trash. Install a quality flu cap over the outside flu pipe to prevent birds from building nests between flu segments during the summer.

Dennis A. Bauer

Follow the link to my website at`
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