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Preparing your home for winter 

Some helpful tips for the cold season

What an absolute stunner of an early fall we had in Central Oregon, with warm temperatures throughout almost all of October! With the leaves changing from green to yellow and red and falling everywhere, it is a reminder that winter and freezing temperatures will soon be upon us. With the freezing temperatures coming, it is time to get our properties ready for winter if you have not done so already. Below are a few tips to help you out or guide you along.

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One of the first things I do when the overnight lows start dropping is close the vents in my foundation stem wall and cover them with polystyrene vent plugs to keep the cold air and moisture out of my crawl space. If you do not have vent plugs, take a quick measurement of your foundation vents, as your local hardware store will likely have a few different sizes for you to select from.

The next thing to think about is blowing out the sprinkler/irrigation lines to prevent them from freezing and cracking. While a night or two with temperatures below freezing will not cause the pipes to freeze and burst, it is still best to get this taken care of as soon as possible. If you have a large air compressor it is a straightforward task, or you can hire a professional to take care of this for you. Years ago, I was told that putting packing peanut foam pieces in plastic bag to help insulate your water valve box, is a good idea as well. Also make sure that all your hoses are disconnected from the spigot so that any water stuck inside can drain out and not freeze, risking a burst pipe. Once you have disconnected your hose use an outdoor faucet cover to insulate the spigot.

On the topic of water, the fall is a great time to inspect your gutters and downspouts and remove any debris from them. Debris left can block the drains, causing water to pool and leak out of the gutters as well as weigh them down and cause them to break. If you are not comfortable spending some time up on a ladder it is likely worth a call to a professional to have them clean and inspect your gutters.

Finally, let's take a moment to check our exterior doors to see if any light from outside the home is visible. You may need to add or replace a door sweep, along with weather stripping that can keep the cold air out, and the warm air inside the home. Next, look at all your windows and make sure they are completely closed, and the seals are working properly. Once you have addressed any door or window seal issues, check other places like air conditioner units or mail slots for areas that can be sealed up a little tighter. Sealing up your home can really help your home stay warm, and of course reduce your energy bills.

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