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5 Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Home

These little steps can make a big ­difference in comfort

After Jack Frost has moved in, you’ll wish you’d invested a pleasant autumn afternoon in winter-proofing your home. To keep your home and family sound and snug, move these five simple steps to the top of your chore list.

1. Touch up exterior paint. Peeling or flaking paint can expose bare wood, subjecting it to moisture and possible rotting. So if you see bare spots, touch them up. Scrape off any loose paint, sand the surface smooth and prime the bare wood.  Then apply one or two coats of top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paint. (Use leftover paint if you have it.)

2. Tend to rust spots. If iron doors, railings or fences show signs of rust, correct the problems. Otherwise, things will snowball over the winter. Use a scraper and/or wire brush to remove the rust, rinse away any particles that remain and prime the surfaces as soon as they are dry.  Complete the work by applying two thick coats of 100 percent acrylic latex paint.

3. Caulk cracks and gaps. Any openings in your home’s exterior are not only energy sieves but also inviting entry points for insects and mice. Seal cracks, gaps and open seams with a paintable top-quality acrylic caulk. Conceal the caulk by touching up with leftover paint.

4. Keep out the cold and moisture. Storm windows and storm doors are essential defenses against wind, rain, snow and cold air. If you have storm windows and doors, put them up early; if you don’t have them, buy some. They will help pay for themselves through lower energy bills and tax credits.

5. Clean the gutters. Keep a sound roof overhead by removing leaves, pine needles and other debris from your rain gutters. Otherwise, trapped water may form ice dams that can damage roofing shingles and create leaks — problems you certainly won’t want to deal with when the weather is bad. 

–Paint Quality Institute