Keep winter out of your home

Before this happens, read our tips for ensuring a warm, cozy home this winter.

Home experts tell us the fixes to make now so all you have to worry about is who’s making the hot chocolate later.

Clean the gutters: Gutters collect leaves and twigs which block rainwater and melting snow from flowing freely. If melting ice can’t drain it seeps into the walls and ceilings of your home and can damage the foundation. In addition to cleaning out the debris, have gutter protection installed, advises John Stephenson, vice president of marketing for home exterior manufacturers Ply Gem. He recommends a continuous hanging system such as Ply Gem’s Gutter Warrior, which is strong enough to withstand high winds and heavy amounts of snow and ice.

Check your windows: Now is the time to make sure your windows are in order, advises Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Windows. He recommends walking around your home on a windy day to see if there are any breezy spots and to check for cracks in window frames. “If you do notice a draft coming in, one easy fix is to pick up some weather stripping at your local hardware store,” says Pickering. “Expanding foam is another option — but it’s crucial to make sure you get ‘low expansion,’ which is designed for windows and doors. Also, make sure to caulk cracks from the outside. A more advanced project, for someone with a bit of carpentery skill, would be to add storm windows for extra protection.” However, if your windows are in really bad shape you’ll want to do a full window replacement. “That’s when you call up an expert,” says Pickering. Those living in the East Coast should get windows with an Energy Star Rating for the Northern Climate Zone. This has a U factor of 0.30 or below.
 
Get your heating system serviced: “Just as a tune-up can improve gas mileage or a car’s performance, a yearly tune-up of the heating system can improve efficiency,” says Myles Meehan, senior vice president of emergency repair provider HomeServe USA. “Cold temperatures cause central heating systems to work harder to supply warm air throughout the home. Now is the time to schedule a tune-up with a certified HVAC technician to ensure everything is working  and  prevent the hassle of repairs in the dead of winter.” 

Tip:

If your window frames are in good condition but you have single-pane glass and want a more modern and energy-efficient double-pane glass, you need to pick up a sash replacement system, says Pickering.

Full winterizing exterior makeover
   
Want to fix it all in one go? The Designed Exterior by Ply Gem helps take your aging home and make it new and energy efficient. Plus, they work with you to create a customized look within your budget. Find out more at www.plygem.com.

Prevent freezing pipes

Turn off exterior faucets since water that is not drained can freeze, causing pipes to expand and possibly burst, says Meehan. You can start by disconnecting garden hoses and sprinklers and draining water that is remaining in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets, remember to turn off the water shut-off valve inside your home as well.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.