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Get Ready for Old Man Winter

Like it or not, seasons change and winter is on its way. Although a fresh blanket of snow can be beautiful, it can knock out heat or power, sometimes for several days.

Make sure your home is prepared, no matter what this winter season may hold, by reviewing these tips.

  • Prevent ice dams by periodically inspecting the roof drainage system for proper flow, including drains, gutters and down spouts.
  • Before turning on the furnace for the first time, clean or replace the filter, check the blower belt and motor, ensure the vents in the house are unobstructed and remove flammable objects from around the furnace and water heater.
  • Use caution with electric space heaters. Choose heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. And never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Know how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Insulate walls and attics, check caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows, install storm doors or windows and cover windows with plastic.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in the house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.