Another winter season is right around the corner; cool nights sipping hot cocoa and snuggled up by the fire. These winter activities bring a feeling of warmth and joy with nights spent with family. However, as winter approaches so too do potential disasters caused by home heating malfunctions, roof leaks, and frozen pipes. Are you and your home prepared for what this winter may bring?
Will quick winter weather changes make conditions perfect for those nasty ice dams that can wreak havoc on attics and roofing? Or will a long cold period create the continuous cold conditions that lead to pipes freezing and bursting. And how about the homeowners who haven’t had their heating systems cleaned recently and may experience the nasty soot cloud that is a puff back when they turn on their heat?
We have compiled this list of Top 10 Tips to help you winterize your home:
1. Have Your Heating System Inspected
Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean all ducts. This can also help prevent messy puff backs.
2. Prevent Plumbing Freezes
Drain all exterior hoses and insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Know where your main water valve is in case you need to turn it off. Be sure to set the heat at 55 degrees or above if you plan to leave for an extended period of time.
3. Get Your Fireplace Ready
Make sure your chimney has been cleaned and is in good working order. Inspect the damper for proper opening and closing.
4. Check the Exterior, Doors, and Windows
Inspect the exterior of the home for any visible cracks and seal them. Use weather-stripping around doors and replace cracked window glass. Switch out summer screens and install storm windows.
5. Check Foundations
Seal all entry points (mice can enter an opening as thin as a dime) and make sure foundations are clear of debris and vegetation.
6. Clear Roof, Gutters & Downspouts
Check flashing to make sure that water can’t enter your home and consider adding extra attic insulation which will prevent warm air from rising and causing roof ice dams.
7. Install Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Buy extra batteries and test your devices to make sure they are operational. It is also a good idea to make sure you have a working fire extinguisher.
8. Service Weather-Specific Equipment
Drain gas from lawnmowers, service snow-blowers, and make sure that you have plenty of winter supplies like snow shovels, ice scrapers, and ice-melt.
9. Prepare Landscaping
Trim any branches that are too close to the house or the electrical wires and move sensitive plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
10. Prepare an Emergency Kit
Make sure you have a supply of candles and matches, several days’ worth of non-perishable food, extra bottled water, and emergency contact numbers for utilities and other emergency services.