Home Front: Winterize your home

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by By RENAY SAN MIGUEL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on October 20, 2008 at 1:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 2:29 PM

SEATTLE -- These chilly mornings are a good reminder that it's time to get your house ready for winter.

Rich Gaspar has been winterizing homes for 30 years.

While it is a bit of a chore to make sure pipes, furnaces and gutters can handle the coming wet, windy weather, a local expert who's been winterizing Seattle homes for 30-plus years says doing it now can save you some cold, hard cash.

Gaspar makes his case for winterizing with the home that was owned by the first dean of the law school at the University of Washington -- 100 years ago. First reason? Lower heating and plumbing bills.

"You could save several hundred dollars, at least, a month, if not more, another critical thing too, if you let pipes go and you have a problem with them breaking, it's thousands of dollars," he said.

"The home's in pretty good shape, there's about three areas, water, heat, safety and health that I would address," Gaspar said.

Gaspar recommends that you coil up your water hoses, draining the water so they don't freeze, and cover the outside taps.

You should also turn off and drain outdoor fountains.

It's okay to keep the hot tub going, but...

"Lot of fun, as long as we have power and energy, if the power goes out we need to be able to drain this," he said.

Gaspar says irrigation systems also need to be drained each winter.

"You find where the supply lines are and you drain it with air pressure," he said.

Gutters should be cleaned so water won't back up into the basement.

"The water shutoff for your home needs to be located, many times it's hidden, in an emergency you've got to get to it and make sure that it works," Gaspar added.

Inside the home Gaspar makes sure the heat is on -- thanks to clean filters -- and that the heat stays in, by checking on weather stripping.

Pipes and joints get a once-over for proper seals.

"It's really important to check the chargeability and accessibility of the fire extinguishers in your home, when you need them, they've got to work," said Gaspar.

This former lawyer's home is ready for the winter, but the verdict won't be in until the temperatures drop and the rains really begin.

Rich Gaspar also reminds us that smoke detectors need to have new batteries as you're winterizing your home. Batteries should be replaced every six months.

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