Being at home in the cold of winter leaves us lots of time to contemplate regrets – things you should have taken care of in the fall when the weather was warmer and the body more willing.

To prevent this kind of funk, here’s how you can create a complete winter checklist for 2017.

Stop the Frozen Dangers of Ice

Frozen PipeIce can pose a couple of hazards that you need to head off. If you have obstructions in your gutters and downspouts, water can freeze in them and cause backups that leak into the house, causing extensive structural damage.

While you are on the roof inspecting these and cleaning them out, check the roof for damaged and missing shingles, replacing as needed. Ice on the ground can cause pedestrians to fall and cars to crash.

Prevent this with deicing salt applied to your driveway and walkways. Clean off as much snow and ice as possible before applying the salt, making sure that it doesn’t get on plants, walkways, or outdoor plumbing systems.

Make Sure Your Warning Devices Work

Smoke Alarm CheckOut-of-control fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are bad, no matter what time of year.

Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.

Push their test buttons, replace any older batteries and perhaps crisis test your smoke detector by light a flame close to it to see if it works.

Insulate and Ventilate So You Can Hibernate

Insulated HomeTo stay toasty warm in your house, you need to make sure cold air doesn’t draft in and warm air out. So make sure that your house has enough insulation, especially in the attic, where the hot air rises.

This is especially true for homes built 25 years or more ago when energy saving wasn’t a top priority.While adding insulation may be a big cost, it can also lead to big savings down the road.

At the same time, you should check your home’s ventilation. Exhaust fans should be in good working order. If too much water is let to condense inside the home, it can cause mold and rot and structural damage.

Examine Windows and Doors

Caulking FramesWindows and doors not only can let you see in, see out/walk in, walk out, they can also let in cold drafts and waste warming energy. Replace weather stripping when old and worn.

Caulk around frames to fill in holes and gap, or use expanding foam for larger holes. Repair or replace rotten wood frames. Windows may also need to be repaired or replaced if there is condensation between panes or cracks or damage to the glass.

Oh yes, when you are warm and cozy in your comfy chair on a cold day, remember you can save a lot of money if you put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat.

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