With the winter season quickly approaching, Raymond Previto, environmental services director at Park Springs, the Southeast’s leading continuing care retirement community and Brian Thomas, director of operations management, sat down to answer questions about how to properly prepare your home for the Atlanta’s cold Winter months ahead.

Q: What are some basic tips homeowners should know during cold winter months?

A: Set your thermostat to 65 degrees to prevent walls and pipes from freezing. It is also important when extremely cold to let a faucet drip to ensure pipes don’t freeze. Also be sure to disconnect any outside hoses on your property. If you haven’t had your furnace inspecting, now is a good time to do so.

Q: How do I ensure my gutters and roof are safe for the winter months?

A: Keep an eye on any obstructions in your gutters and downspouts. By removing leaves, branches and debris, ice dams and standing water are less likely to form, reducing the chance of water build-up and seepage into the house. Make sure the valleys of your roof lines are also clear. Valleys are the most common place where roofs leaks. It is also important to cap or screen your chimney to keep out birds and rodents.

Q: What should I have in an emergency kit in case of a winter storm and power outage?

A: It is important that you have canned goods, bottles of water and blankets handy. Be sure to keep batteries and LED flashlights in a familiar place. Many fires start during power outages because people forget that they lit candles. There is no excuse not to have a flashlight handy. You might also want to think about purchasing a walkie talkie in order to be able to communicate in times of power outages. Be sure to prepare an evacuation plan in event of an emergency.

Q: When inspecting the outside of my home, what should I look for?

A: Check your siding for damages including cracks and or separation. Be sure to seal any damages or contact a repairman to do so. Be sure to check your windows and doors to make sure they are sealed with weather-stripping to prevent heat loss.

Q: What are some key mistakes homeowners make in the winter?

A: Homeowners that use fireplaces, heating blankets, woodstoves etc… often forget to shut them off or fall asleep before doing so. It is important prior to using these items in the winter that you make sure they are in proper condition. While in use they need to be closely monitored.

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