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Shelly Barnes: Preparing for your home and yourself for winter

Shelly Barnes • Updated Dec 6, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Is your home ready for winter? Are you? According to Martha Keel, environmental health and housing specialist with University of Tennessee Extension, fall is the perfect time to get ready for winter. 

Good home maintenance is essential to protect your investment, prevent costly damage during the winter and keep your home safe and healthy.

While fall is all about the beautiful leaves, bonfires and heading outside to enjoy the crisp weather, it should also be about making sure you and your home are ready for winter. The checklist below will help you ensure home winter readiness. 

Home safety

• Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. More than 70 percent of the fatal structure fires in Tennessee occur where there is no working smoke alarm. 

• Check chimneys and flues to make sure they are clean and operating properly.

Home maintenance

• Repair any broken or cracked glass in your windows so that heat does not escape in cold months.

• Clean and tune furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters, checking for leaks or sweating.

• Check your attic’s insulation, ensuring it is in place.

• Consider installing appliance timers to cut your winter energy costs.

• Clean gutters and downspouts.

• Drain outdoor faucets and hoses.

Car safety

• Add a blanket or sleeping bag to your car’s emergency kit, along with extra hats, socks and gloves.

• Purchase a windshield scraper for frosty mornings, or keep it in the trunk if you own one already.

For more information about healthy choices for your family, contact Shelly Barnes at sbarnes@utk.edu or call 615-444-9584. In addition, UT Extension is a member of the Extension Healthy Homes Partnership. More information about healthy homes is available at extensionhealthyhomes.org. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

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