Keep the cold at bay with these home winterizing tips

(BPT) – Winter’s frigid temperatures are on their way, and if you wait until the cold hits to finally start winterizing your home, it may already be too late to prevent home damage.

“You need to winterize your home while the weather is still warmer just as you would winterize your car,” says Bill Loden, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “An ASHI inspector can help prioritize these projects for homeowners as the seasons change and weather becomes more severe.”

Getting started on your seasonal winterizing checklist during the fall will help you prevent costly repairs in the spring. To help you properly winterize your home and prepare for the colder months, the ASHI advises you to CHILL by following these tips:

* C: Caulk cracks to stop chilly drafts. Worn-out weather stripping around doors and windows allows cold air to seep into the home, which increases heating costs.

* H: Hustle on important repairs. Get going on those tricky repairs, such as putting insulation around your pipes. Not sure where to start? ASHI recommends a home inspection approximately every four years; this can point you in the right direction.

* I: Inspect your fireplace and flue. Test your fireplace flues for tight seals. If you’re feeling a breeze even when the damper is closed, the flue could be warped, worn or even rusted.

* L: Look for deck decay and damage. Fixing any splintering, decay or insect damage on your deck this fall can prevent further deterioration during the winter.

* L: Light your fireplace and chill out. Stay warm this winter and build a fire in your family’s fireplace. First check your smoke alarms. You probably will find all of your smoke alarms have ionization detectors. Throw all of them in the trash, even if they are brand new. Replace them with photoelectric alarms. Ionization alarms will let you know when you have burned the toast, but they may not alarm you if you have a deadly, smoldering fire in the middle of the night.

“Before another severe winter sweeps through, homeowners must get serious about scheduling a home inspection to determine what unnoticed repairs may be necessary,” says Loden. “A home inspector can help homeowners identify and tend to any problems.”

To locate a home inspector in your area, visit and use their Find a Home Inspector directory.