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Use this winter maintenance checklist to prepare your home, experts say

Photo Source: AP Photo Source: AP
(ANGIE'S LIST) -

As many as two-thirds of American homes are under-insulated.  

That means higher energy costs and less comfort for millions of homeowners. With winter just a month away, experts say now's the time to consider a winter maintenance checklist, to get your house ready for colder temperatures.
 
One of the first things you need to do to prepare for the seasonal change is to check your insulation. If you can see the wood beams in your attic, it's time to add more.  Another key to keeping cold air out is finding out how it's getting in.

"The first sign of cold is a great time to check the seals around your windows and doors, and an easy, do-it-yourself way to do that is to take a candle around in front of the windows lit and if it flickers, then you probably have a draft that needs attention," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. 

Caulking cracks is an easy task with the right tools, advises David Price a professional handyman.   

"Don't go cheap on a caulk gun because then you'll have a caulk gun that stays triggered and then it continues to spread the caulk, so don't get any real cheap caulk gun. Get one that works really well."

Now is also when you need to make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Get your chimney checked and swept, and service your furnace and change the filter. And home repair professionals say don't forget about your water heater.

"Many homeowners don't think about the water heater until it goes out and they get a cold shower. But there is some simple maintenance you can do that can really increase the efficiency of your water heater. Simply by draining the water heater once a year, you can increase its efficiency by 50 percent."

Taking time now to address some simple home maintenance can go a long way in saving time, money and misery when the temperatures fall. 

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