Simple Ways To Prepare Your Home For Winter
Winter, Snow and Ice, and potential damage to your home are on the agenda if you live in the northern regions of the US. Below are several tips and suggestions to properly prepare your home for this brutal onslaught of brutally cold and nasty weather.
Clean Your Gutters
This might seem obvious but it’s a little challenging for some people. Gutters are high on the house, especially if you have a two-story home. Clogged gutters mean you are vulnerable to ice dams that can wreak havoc on the interior of your home. Nobody wants backed up water running onto the ceiling or down the inside walls of your home.
Window Air Conditioners
Take them out of the windows. Close the windows tight. Put in the storm glass if you have it. Window AC units left in during the cold weather pull huge amounts of heat out of your house (and let a lot of cold air in). Plus, when they remain in the window, snow can build up on top, potentially pulling the AC unit out of the window, making a worse mess.
Garden Hoses & Spigots
Disconnect and take your garden hoses inside – both to protect them from damage and to keep the ice from backing up and damaging the spigot. It’s also strongly recommended that you turn the water off inside the house – to the line connected to those outdoor faucets. And, once the water inside is turned off to the spigot, then open the spigot to prevent frozen water to expand into the house damaging the pipes.
Fireplaces & Heating Systems
Wood-burning fireplaces need the flue and chimney checked and cleaned. Plugged chimneys can ruin the inside of your beautiful home with soot. Natural gas and propane fireplaces can put a lethal amount of carbon monoxide into your home if the venting isn’t proper! Every year we hear about deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. A professional heating company is well worth the investment to fully check and service your furnace. No one wants to wake up to no heat in the house or come home to find the heat out. Do not forget to put new batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors too.
Get a trusted roofer to go onto your roof and check for any loose shingles or other potential issues. In many areas of the country, heavy snowfall can put additional stress on your roof and even cause ice dam problems. We would even suggest you go purchase a “roof rake” designed to pull snow off your roof – so you don’t have to get onto the roof to remove very heavy and wet snow.
When temperatures are going to drop into the teens and even well below zero, we encourage you to leave faucets in your house dripping just a little bit. This moving water can help prevent pipe freeze-ups. When your pipes freeze inside the home, it’s certainly an inconvenience, but worse, when they thaw, they can break – dumping hundreds of gallons of water into your home!
Steps, Porches, Handrails
You will rely on these when you go outside, and the last thing you need is porches or handrails to be in poor condition. Slips, trips, and falls are sure to happen, and the best way to reduce that likelihood is great maintenance.
In Your Yard
Safely store outdoor furniture, toys, tools, out of the brutal winter weather. Be sure that weak and dead tree branches are removed. Trim bushes away from the side of the house and test your snowblower to be sure it will start when you really need it.
There are dozens of additional suggestions we could add, but everyone is busy and won’t read ten pages worth of suggestions. These we listed are some of the most important ones to help you and your home enjoy a more comfortable and safer winter.
Author: Dick Wagner
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