When cold weather arrives, you dust off your warm shoes and jackets, and turn the heat up in your home.
During harsh Winter weather conditions, issues such as fire hazards, water damage, and high heating costs can arise. This can be even more of an issue if your home is not properly prepared for cold or freezing temperatures. Follow these tips to prepare your property for the cold weather and help prevent problems that may occur during the Fall and Winter months.
Severe cold weather can freeze the water in your pipes, which can explode when the ice inside it expands. Let faucets in exterior walls drip to provide relief for your pipes. Wrap both cold and warm water pipes with insulation and caulk up cracks or holes in your walls to help keep cold air away from pipes as best as possible. When you leave the house for an extended period of time, be sure your thermostat is set to at least 55 degrees.
Learn More: Preventing Water Damage This Winter
In case of a plumbing emergency, you will need to close the main water valve to prevent further damage. Make sure you know where your shut-off valve is before disaster strikes. Typically, the valve is located in the basement or buried near the road.
Having poorly sealed ducts can lead to around 20 percent loss in efficiency. Before the temperature drops, hire a contractor to properly seal and insulate the air ducts in your home. You will save on energy and reduce the stress on your furnace.
Before you use your fireplace, check for obstructions, such as creosote buildup or birds’ nests, in the flue. In order for it to work efficiently, the damper must close properly and the firebox should be fully intact. Hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney and check it for damage before lighting a fire this Winter.
Hire a contractor to fix any missing, loose or damaged shingles. In addition, the roof must be clear of debris as it can damage the roof’s shingles or membrane.
Weatherstrip any gaps and cracks around your windows and doors and caulk up any gaps that are bigger than the width of a nickel. This prevents moisture and cold air from getting inside, boosting the energy efficiency of your home. For extra heat conservation, install double or triple pane windows and insulated doors.
Change the filters on your furnace each month during the cold season. Dirty furnace filters reduce furnace efficiency, which decreases the lifespan of the unit and increases energy consumption.
Leaves, twigs, and other debris in your gutters may cause water leaks in your home, as well as ice dams on your roof. Be sure to clean them regularly and check them for damage and sagginess.
To prevent ice dams on your roof, make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. In addition, ensure your attic has enough ventilation to allow cold air into the attic (and help prevent the ice on the roof from melting).
Learn More: How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Attic
Power outages can happen during a big Winter storm. To make sure you and your family are prepared, stock up on the basics. Keep an emergency kit (with food, water, medical supplies, etc.) and alternate heating sources on hand. In addition, restock cold-weather essentials, such as salt or ice melt.
Don’t let the frigid temperatures keep you from enjoying the holidays. Make sure you’re ready! Protecting your home from cold weather is the first step in ensuring you and your family stay safe and warm all season long.