Paige Hemmis' Checklist for Winterizing Your Home

  1. Organize. Store all summer weather items - not thrown in the garage or a closet - take this time to install shelves and organize.
  2. Check all smoke detectors. Put a new battery in each detector, even if it appears to be working fine. The small investment in a new 9-volt battery is a small price to pay for safety. Replace them every six months. An easy way to remember is to change them once for summer and once for winter.
  3. Check to make sure fire extinguishers are in good condition. Keep them in easy-to-grab places, but out-of-reach from children. 

  4. Check your clothes dryer. Clean the exit vents and clean behind them. This is a common place for fires to start.
  5. Check your washing machine hoses for cracks or bubbles. This is the most common cause of flooding in the home.
  6. Take a look at all outlets, appliances, cords, etc. for damage and replace if necessary.
  7. Check all air conditioning vents & screens in the house. These will soon have a lot of air blowing through them and this small step will prevent dust and debris from blowing around the house.

Next, it's time to see what Mother Nature has done:

  1. Check the attic and basement for leaks and moisture.
  2. Check the roof for leaks, missing shingles and any other damage.
  3. Check the chimney. Your fireplace was probably used more than usual during winter. Look for debris and any cracks.
  4. Check rain gutters for damage and fix as soon as possible. Even a little leak down the side of your house can cause problems. Clean them out! 

  5. Check your windows and doors for possible leaks, dampness, or dry rot. Be sure that the heat stays out and the cold stays in for the summer. 

  6. Check the outside walls of the house for crumbling, cracks, peeling paint, etc. 

  7. Check the home's foundation for cracks. Repair immediately! If rain has washed away the earth from the foundation, add some so that it slopes away from the house.

Follow lifestyle design expert Paige Hemmis on Twitter @paigehemmis and check out her site

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