Preparing your home for winter can save money, prevent damage

Well, it’s not quite beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but the cold weather will be com-ing in pretty fast, so here’s a few tips to get your home in order and prepared for the winter season.

• Check the gutters on your house. Make sure they are cleaned and will drain water properly. This will help prevent ice dam-ming when we really get into the winter season.

• Remove hoses from all outdoor faucets and make sure they are drained. Turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets if the water lines are not in a heated space, or if you do not have frost-proof faucets.

If you have storm win-dows, now’s a good time to get those up. Storm win-dows serve as an addi-tional barrier against the cold winter winds and can help keep your heating bill lower.

Let’s head inside now and take care of a few more things…

• Change the batter-ies in your smoke alarm. One should be on each level of your home.

• Change the batter-ies in your carbon monox-ide detector or replace them every two years. Some of these are battery operated, while others are plugged directly into elec-trical outlets. Check and see which kind you have. These should be placed in bedrooms or living rooms.

• Change the filters in your furnace. It also would be a great idea to have a thorough cleaning or reconditioning done before we get into using it full swing.

• Have a trained pro-fessional clean and main-tain your fireplace chim-ney. Creosote (kre-a-sote) can build up and become very dangerous unless cleaned on a regular basis.

• Finally, if you do have water lines that run through an unconditioned space, plug in your heat tape. The last thing you’ll want is frozen or busted water pipes.

Just a little time and effort can save you lots of dollars by being prepared in advance.

Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical con-tractor in the state of Michigan, a WJBK-TV Fox2 Detroit news contrib-utor and president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.