As temperatures drop in fall, it's time to think of shorter days and frosty winter weather that raises heating bills and puts your pipes at risk of freezing. Preparing your home for winter helps prevent sudden emergencies like furnaces breaking down and burst pipes, and it helps cut down on heating costs.

Insulate Your Home

Home insulation can prevent bursted pipes and helps keep the heat in your home.

  • Insulate water pipes exposed to outdoor temperatures with foam or fiberglass insulation sleeves. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recommends that homeowners insulate pipes in the attic and crawl space, and drain exterior pipes or wrap them in insulation 2 inches thick.
  • Seal cracks and gaps in windows with caulking, and install a fireplace cover to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney. If your windows are particularly drafty, apply insulating film. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), small air leaks in the average American home have a significant effect on heating costs.
  • Get your heating ducts in tiptop shape before winter sets in to reduce heating bills. Vacuum dust and debris from the vents, and wrap insulation around ducts that are exposed to cold temperatures.

Prepare Your Furnace For Winter

A serviced furnace costs less to run and is less likely to break down.

  • Clean or replace furnace air filters. The Association of Georgia Real Estate Appraisers advises that you should replace your furnace filter every one to three months, however, this can vary based on your type of filter.
  • Book a professional furnace service and assessment. If the thermostat and furnace parts aren't working correctly, your heating bills are higher. The BBB says a typical home furnace, on average should be replaced every 15 years.

Winter Emergencies

Winter weather brings its own set of emergencies.

  • Check you and your family know where your indoor mains water valve is, so you can shut off the supply quickly in case of a burst pipe. If you can't find an indoor mains water valve in your home, it may be near your water meter or the curb outside your home. Keep an out-of-hours contact number beside the phone for heating or plumbing emergencies.
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home, and replace any that are old or defective.

An afternoon's work pays off in money saved and protects your family this winter.

Contact Ragsdale for more information on winterizing your Atlanta area home.

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