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Winterize your home for warmth, safety and savings

December 06, 2008

NAPSA

From insulating your windows and doors, which can help lower your monthly heating bills, to having the right tools on hand to see you through an emergency, a few tips from the experts may help keep you, your family and your home safe this winter.

Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware's "Helpful Hardware Man," recommends several steps to winterize your home. "Any homeowner can undertake these steps," said Manfredini. "If questions arise, just stop by your local hardware store, where a representative will be happy to help out."

To start with, stock up on all the tools you might need to clear sidewalks and driveways, uncover a buried car and keep walkways clear. Snow shovels, a snow-blower with gas, and salt or sand to pretreat the driveway and sidewalks are good items to have on hand. After that:

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· As cold weather approaches, it's important to appraise your roof. Use binoculars to look at it from all sides. Loose shingles, missing vent covers, even loose trim should be repaired or replaced. Clean gutters of leaves and debris before snow and ice build up.

· To stay informed during extreme weather, have a portable, battery-powered radio and/or TV on hand. You may also want to assemble a disaster kit that includes a first aid kit, battery-powered lamps with backup batteries, drinking water, canned food and a manual can opener. For more information on what to include in your disaster kit, please visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared.

· Insulate walls and attics to conserve heat and energy. Wrap pipes also, especially those near exterior walls of your home, which will both keep them from freezing and reduce the amount of energy needed to heat your water.

· Weather-strip your doors and windows to protect against drafting air, and install storm windows or use plastic sheeting to cover windows. Use all-weather caulk to seal around window frames, door frames and other openings in the exterior of your home.

"In some cases, a small investment in winterization can save up to $200 a season in heating costs," said Manfredini.

For more tips, you can visit www.acehardware.com.

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