Prepare your home for winter with these simple tricks


(NC) Make your life a little less stressful by making your home more weather resistant with this checklist:

Seal those leaks and save moneyKeep an eye out for missing or loose shingles and gaps around your chimney and other openings. Check areas around windows, doors and the foundations for cracks. If you identify areas where water or air could cause leaks, you’ll save yourself the trouble of future repairs. Installing weather-stripping where appropriate is also a good way of keeping ice from intruding. Talk to a professional to handle any repairs you’re not comfortable doing yourself and be sure to ask for project estimates up front.

Kick the CO to the curbCheck that your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace old batteries before winter hits. Use the fan on your stove hood if you cook with a gas-burning oven. Adjust your burners to ensure you get a blue flame; a yellow flame produces more harmful emissions if you’re using gas.

Replace your furnace filters monthlyIf you tend to see an increase in your heating bills during the winter months, it’s likely due to a dirty furnace filter. Not only that, but a dirty filter will also shorten the lifespan of your furnace. To avoid this, check and replace your filters each month in the winter. Pleated filters work best by trapping more dirt and particles. Not sure if yours needs replacing? Hold it up to the light and if you can’t see through it, you likely need a new one. Not sure how to locate your furnace filter? Read the owner’s manual for instructions.

Clean your guttersGutters help drain water from the roof of your house. If they’re clogged, they’re more likely to freeze and cause additional blockage. When gutters are blocked, the melting snow and ice can leak through your roof and could flood the foundation in your home, causing additional damage and unnecessary stress. Take some time while it’s still mild out to clean the gutters, or have a professional roofing contractor take a look for you.

Trim trees around the houseAny long branches that hang close to your house, roof or gutters should be pruned before the weather gets too cold. Heavy snow and ice can cause branches to collapse easily and potentially fall on your home, causing damage and costly repairs.

No matter how much you prepare, accidents can and do still happen. Find more information and make sure you’re properly covered at