Are you in Good Hands?
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Are you in Good Hands?


Even though winter officially began December 21, you still have time to make sure your home’s ready for two more months of freezes and dry air.

1. Let the heat flow.

  • Vacuum heat ducts, baseboard units, hot-air registers, radiators—wherever warm air blows.
  • Clean your fireplace and stock up on firewood.
  • Flip the reverse switch on ceiling fans, so they’ll swoosh the warmer air down where you need it.

2. Dodge the embers and the draft.

  • Caulk, insulate or weather-strip anyplace where warm air is slipping away, including electrical outlets, switch plates, attic hatches, cable TV and phone lines, vents and fans.

Did You Know?

35% of the air leakage in a home can come from small openings in doors, windows and fireplaces.
  • Cover up or remove any window air-conditioning units so cold air doesn’t leak through the unit’s vents.
  • Have any roof leaks repaired and any damaged shingles replaced.
  • Make sure all of your external vents (like those in your attic and foundation as well as dryer vents) are covered with metal mesh screens to keep sparks out.

3. Signal for safety.

  • Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Replace any fire extinguishers that are more than 10 years old, and teach your family how to use them.
  • Run your oven's self-cleaner before use.
  • Keep snow away from outdoor outlets.

4. Protect your plumbing.

  • Turn off and drain outdoor hoses, sprinklers, and air-conditioning and irrigation systems—swimming pools, too. If you’re in wildfire country, you should keep your hoses hooked up, but make sure they’re leakproof.
  • When that first deep freeze hits, let indoor faucets drip just a little, so water in the lines doesn’t ice up.
Don’t let money fly out the door! Use a dollar bill to figure out where you need more insulation. Simply close windows and doors on a flat bill; if it’s easy to pull out, you’re losing valuable heat.

5. Clean up your yard.

  • Clear roofs and rain gutters of dried leaves, needles and twigs that can block drainage or catch fire from wind-blown embers.
  • Snip back shrubbery and tree branches that could fall on a house, other structures, or electrical wiring.
  • Double-check that your firewood stacks and propane tanks are at least 30 feet away from your home.
  • Inspect light strings and other electric holiday decorations for loose sockets, cracked wiring covers and broken bulbs.

6. Organize supplies.

  • Stock up on rock salt or sand to slip-proof your sidewalk, and pull your snow shovel and roof rake out of the attic.
  • Make sure you have an emergency bag packed in case you need to evacuate, especially if you live in a wildfire-prone area.
  • Store extra bottled water, some nonperishable food (don’t forget your pet’s food), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry, easily accessed spot.