During the winter, you’ll operate a central heating system that is likely to be decades old. Old heaters, especially space heaters, can catch fire. In addition, freezing temperatures cause all kinds of damage to your home’s exterior. Follow these 4 ways to keep your home running efficiently in the winter.

Insulate the Doors and Windows

In most homes, a lot of energy is lost through cracked doors and windows. Some homes preserve only half the amount of heat that enters the home while the other half seeps into the outdoors. Some problems don’t even require calling a professional to fix. Place insulating strips along the openings of doors and windows to create airtight seals. Call professionals to fix doors or windows that do not close all the way.

Clear the Gutter

Every year, have the gutters cleaned and cleared of debris. A gutter that is exposed to freezing cold temperatures will turn it into an ice dam. When the ice melts, the water leaks into cracks in the roof, which seeps into ceilings and walls. Your gutter systems may cause more damage than expected if you don’t maintain them before winter comes.

Cover the Pipes

Your pipes or hoses could burst when the temperatures reach below freezing. When the water inside freezes, it expands and could burst through the metal. Cover the pipes to preserve some heat and prevent too much freezing; however, keep some parts uncovered to permit airflow for proper functioning.

Maintain the Heater

Your heater may go into overdrive to the point where you’ll need it every day of the season. Have a professional inspect your heating unit to make sure it’s performing at the optimal level. You don’t want a heater that consumes a lot of energy and then produces low amounts of heat.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

When the heater is running continuously, the risks of fires are high during the winter. Space heaters often catch fire when placed near curtains, clothes or other flammable materials. The risks are higher for people who leave these heaters on all night. Check the carbon monoxide detector because carbon monoxide is even deadlier than smoke. This gas is virtually undetectable and lethal if consumed in high doses. Once a year, check the batteries and replace them if necessary.

Many homeowners fail to consider making small changes that have significant effects on the home’s costs and efficiency. Blocking air leaks could save you thousands of dollars in wasted electricity. Repair your heater to maintain high levels of warmth and comfort this winter. There are plenty of other recommended ways to prepare for the cold season.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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