Winter Tips from Mr. Handyman: Winterize Your Home and Safety Checklist

We're only halfway through the cold weather of Florida's winter, which means you still have time to save a few dimes and keep your family safe. When it comes to properly protecting your home and family during the winter, here are some helpful tips.[youtube]
Enjoy a fire on a cool evening, but if you're using artificial logs, never use them for things like roasting marshmallows or cooking other foods. Most logs have chemicals to help them burn and ingesting those chemicals can lead to gastric discomfort or even serious poisoning.

If we told you once, we told you a thousand times; install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and around your heat source. And if you already have them, check them. Remember, even hard wired detectors need batteries.

Prevent plumbing freezes by insulating exposed plumbing pipes and know where your water main shutoff is in case of emergencies. If your water heater is in the garage, look into an exterior watertight blanket to help keep the heat in. That will help insure a warm shower in the morning and save money and energy while having to heat the water in a cold garage.

Inspect your roof, downspouts, and gutters. Check for loose shingles and consider installing leaf guards on the gutters to prevent freezing of backed up water in the gutter. Also consider installing extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

Installing Weather Stripping

Check exterior doors and windows. Be sure the weather stripping around the doors is good and tight to prevent cold air from entering the home, and caulk around the windows.

Inspect your furnace or have preventative maintenance performed by a qualified technician. Consider switching out your traditional dial or slide thermostat for a programmable thermostat. It will give you a more accurate reading and could save you money. This could be tricky, so call a professional if you're not comfortable doing it yourself.

Update your hurricane season emergency kit. Have non-perishable foods, medications, extra blankets and sources for light and heat on hand in case of a power outage. Don't be caught in the dark or in the cold this winter season.