<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">Prepare your house for winter weather</font></h2><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – With the winter weather slowly creeping in, it’s time to get your house ready for snow, wind, ice, freezing rain and all the other potential bad weather that can cause damage to your property.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Don’t wait until the first frost or snowfall to prepare your house for winter. One night with no heat or frozen water pipes can wreak havoc. Last year’s ice and wind storms in the Northeast and across the Midwest left families without power for many days. Here is a checklist of items to help you make sure you’re ready for winter:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Outdoor plumbing -</strong> Start with the easy things by turning off and draining all of your outdoor plumbing. Go through everything at your house; hose connections, pool connections, sprinkler systems, etc. After you’ve turned off the water, leave all the faucets in the "on" position and remove any plastic components. If you suspect that the pipes might not be completely drained of liquid, compressed air can be used to purge water from the lines.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Gutters -</strong> As soon as all the leaves are off the trees, clean the gutters of any debris. Clogged gutters can cause ice buildup or ice dams on the roof. Also install gutter downspout extensions a minimum of four feet from the house for the winter months. This keeps the melting winter snow and ice away from the foundation.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Roof</strong> – Take a good look at the shingles. Make sure none are missing or curled up. Also check for signs of leaks – i.e., stains, cracks, damp spots – and make sure you seal the cracks. If you have an ice dam problem, install heated coils along the edge of the roof. They’re easy to install – just hook them to the shingles with a few clips and plug the coil into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlet. If you don’t have a GCFI outlet, a qualified electrician can install one for you.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="282"><param name="movie" value="../images/banners/11a.swf" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="../images/banners/11a.swf" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="282"></embed></object></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Driveways and sidewalks -</strong> Get out and seal any cracks on your driveways or sidewalks because the freezing and thawing temperatures will only make them bigger during the winter months. Use crack filler or hydraulic cement to prevent the cracks from growing.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>* Install a standby generator</strong> – When ice and wind storms hit your home, you don’t want to be without power for very long. Winter is not a time to try and rough it with freezing temperatures. Plus, when the inside temperatures drop, you’ll have to worry about freezing water pipes. And frozen pipes lead to expensive plumbing repair work.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">A Kohler standby generator runs on propane or natural gas and is connected to your home’s existing gas lines. A transfer switch monitors electrical activity coming into the home, and when that activity stops due to a power failure, the transfer switch kicks in – in as little as 10 seconds – and the generator has your power up and running again.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"I tell people to get a generator that fits your lifestyle," says home improvement expert Ed Del Grande. "Any homeowner will want to make sure the heat stays on at all times for the safety of their families. Standby generators are a must-have for emergency situations such as storms."</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">It takes about a month to select, size, purchase and install a standby generator, especially since you’ll have to work around electrical wiring and gas lines, which includes local codes and proper testing. It’s better to get started earlier than later on this project. Once the ground is frozen, it might be too late.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">By preparing your house for the winter season, you’ll be able to spend the colder months sitting comfortably inside without worrying about water damage or cold temperatures.</p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p></span>