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Winter's coming, and with it, plunging temperatures and shorter days that make you want to curl up and relax, warm and cosy by the fire. As the coldness looms and you prepare to pump the heat, it's important to protect your home from potential damage and address heat and energy leaks. These seven simple tasks will help you stay warm, safe and energy-conscious this winter.

1 Prepare your hearth for fire

Before getting chestnuts ready for the roasting, get your fireplace set for the fire. Grab a flashlight and look inside for build-up, bird's nests or obvious cracks. From the outside, check for broken bricks and crumbling mortar. Ensure that your damper opens and closes and seals tightly. Clean out the ashes and remember that in addition  to these steps, you should have your chimney professionally cleaned every other year (more often if you burn a lot of fires). Stock up on wood and kindling, and you're ready for a comfy, cosy season by the fire.  

 

2 Seal the windows
Seal drafty windows to keep heat in and energy bills low with one (or both) of these two simple tasks. First, caulk the cracks. Sold in temporary or permanent form, caulking is inexpensive and easy to apply. Second, cover your windows in a thin plastic film (available at any hardware store) and tape it down with waterproof double-sided tape, heating the edges with a hair dryer and pressing the protective layer into place. When it gets warmer outside, simply peel the film off, open the window, and let the sun shine in

 

Read more: http://www.styleathome.com/how-to/renovations/article/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-winter

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