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Time to prepare your home for winter

As temperatures drop and leaves fall, it’s time to put away the summer gear and get your home ready for winter. Here are some steps to take to keep your home safe and warm.

Clean gutters and downspouts. Leaves and debris build up quickly this time of year. If your gutters are full, rain water can spill over and into your basement.

Put away the lawn mower.  According to Briggs and Stratton, “You shouldn’t store your lawn equipment with a partially full fuel tank. Either run the equipment out of fuel, or use fuel stabilizer in a full tank of fuel. Add the stabilizer (also called fuel preserver) according to package directions. Then — and this is important — run the mower for a few minutes so that the stabilizer circulates through the carburetor. The stabilizer keeps fuel fresh for up to 6 months. Turn off the engine and completely fill the gas tank. A full tank will help prevent moisture from condensing in the tank, which can form rust that could break away and clog the carburetor.”

Prepare your snow blower before the first snow. If you can’t start your snow blower, according to Consumer Reports, “you probably left gas in the machine for too long. Pouring in new gas over the old won’t solve your problem. Siphon out the old first — a siphon tube, hand or battery-powered, costs less than $20. With a lighter, single-stage snow blower, turn it upside down if you have to, but get as much of that old fuel out as you can before refueling. (Gas stations accept used gas, but you can even put fuel from any four-stroke engine into your car’s gas tank.) Before filling up with fresh gas, mix in fuel stabilizer.”

Cover your air conditioner with a tarp. This will keep out debris and excess moisture over the winter, and keep your unit running more efficiently next summer.

Have your furnace inspected and cleaned by a professional. You’ll be reassured that everything, including the heat exchanger, is in top working order.

Install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poison gas that can be fatal when inhaled. It is sometimes called the “silent killer.” A detector can alert you and your family to higher-than-normal levels, and give you the opportunity to get out of the house before you pass out.

If you already have a detector, test the batteries and change them if necessary.

If you have any questions or find problems that need a more detailed inspection, please call AmeriSpec at 402-393-3696 in Omaha, or 402-483-2010 in Lincoln.

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