Your Better Business Bureau offers tips to prepare your home for winter and save money:
* Inspect your furnace. It’s recommended to have it inspected annually by a professional. Turn the furnace on to make sure it works, make sure the thermostat works properly and check the filter.
* Check ductwork so heat isn’t escaping. Look for possible leaks and insulate exposed ductwork and pipes.
* Look for clogged gutters or downspouts. Build up could cause clogs causing rain water to back up and possibly freeze, which could cause major gutter damage. Fall is a great time to clean these out after all the leaves have fallen.
* Inspect your chimney. Before you fire it up for the first time, make sure there’s nothing clogging it like animals, debris and leaves. Check flashing around the outside of your chimney stack to make sure you’ll be leak free.
* Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Test detectors and replace if they’re older than 10 years.
* Check around doors and windows, caulk and replace weather stripping if necessary. This is a common place for cold air to make its way in.
* Check pipes before the first freeze. Wrap pipes in places like basements, crawl spaces and garages where it’s unheated, so you don’t have pipes bursting.
* Remove garden hoses from the faucet. Water remaining in hoses could freeze and crack or damage hoses. Also, remove gasoline from your lawnmower or other garden tools.
* Gather items for an emergency kit, such as a flashlight, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a battery-powered radio.
If you’re not very handy, your BBB can provide you with a list of BBB Accredited contractors and business reviews on contractors you’re considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.