learn key winter home preparation tips to have a safe winter

Bracing for the Big Chill: Winter Home Preparation Tips to Know

Are you prepared for a severe winter that includes below-average temperatures? While last winter was relatively mild, there’s no guarantee this one will be the same. Although you can’t control the weather, you can proactively prepare your home for a potential temperature plunge. Investing your time (and money) now can spare you from costly repair bills later. Explore these winter home preparation tips to kickstart your winter readiness. 

Outdoor Winter Home Preparation Tips

  • Clean out your gutters. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can impede water flow and may facilitate ice dam formation in extreme weather. 
  • Install gutter guards. If you have mature trees close to your home, gutter guards can save you the trouble of the inevitable buildup caused by falling leaves.
  • Prune trees and remove dead branches. Not only is late fall pruning healthy for your plant material, but removing large, damaged branches will ensure they don’t end up falling on your home.
  • Turn off outside water spigots. Consider installing a freeze-proof fixture if you don’t have one already. Do it yourself, or hire a plumber to do it for you.
  • Repair any damage to exterior steps. Check for loose mortar, caulking, grout, and cracked surfaces. Keep steps clear during ice and snow events.
  • Inspect the exterior for leaks around doors and windows. Caulk will deteriorate over time, allowing water to enter and freeze. Remove and replace damaged caulk. 
  • Winterize outdoor water systems. If you have a swimming pool, hot tub, irrigation system, or other exterior water feature, winterize them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Indoor Winter Home Preparation Tips 

  • Insulate your attic, basement, and crawl space. A well-insulated attic can help prevent the formation of ice dams. Insulated basements and crawlspaces help keep pipes from freezing.
  • Consider investing in a backup power source. Continuous power will not only help you stay warm, but it can also prevent frozen pipes. A portable power generator will do the job.
  • Stay current on routine maintenance of your HVAC system. Regular service by your local professional will reduce the chance of a system failure when you need it the most.
  • Check pipes for cracks, leaks, and loose fittings. Take note of what you find, make the repairs yourself, or call your plumber to do the job.
  • Ask your plumber about installing an emergency pressure relief valve. It can protect your plumbing system from pressure from frozen pipes and may prevent them from bursting. 
  • Move combustibles away from heat sources. This is always good practice, but especially when temperature causes increased use of fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters. 
  • Understand your plumbing system. Learn about the general layout of your plumbing system and know where the main shutoff valve is located. 
  • Check your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Consider adding sewer backup insurance. If raw sewage backs up in your home, it will be expensive to repair. The added coverage will be worth it. 
A key winter home preparation tip: avoid placing flammable objects near your fireplace.

How to Minimize Damage During Freezes

If a cold blast arrives before you have time to complete your preparations, don’t panic. Here are some tips for keeping potential damage from spiraling out of control:

  • Heat your house to a minimum of 65 degrees. Since the temperature inside the walls is considerably lower, this will help ensure it stays above freezing. 
  • Make sure you know the location of the main water shutoff valve. Although you might have completed this task, double-check when temperatures drop below freezing. 
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas. If you have an unheated basement or a shop sink in the garage, wrap those pipes with insulation tape.
  • Open cabinet and vanity doors to allow warmer air to circulate pipes. You can use newspaper or old towels to provide a protective layer on indoor pipes.
  • Open all hot and cold water faucets and let them drip slowly. Keeping water flowing slowly through the pipes can help prevent freezing.
  • Keep your fireplace flue and garage doors closed when not in use. This will help keep your home’s indoor temperature as warm as possible.
  • Enlist the help of friends. If you plan to be away during a freeze, ask a neighbor to check the interior and exterior of your home regularly.
  • Keep sidewalks and steps free of snow and ice. Make sure your snow shovels are in good working order. Purchase ice melt for hard surfaces and keep it handy.
  • Check your gutters for ice dams regularly during a freeze and melt cycle. Use a rake to dislodge snow from the roof’s edge. Learn how to remove ice dams safely.
  • During a heavy snow or ice storm, check trees for newly damaged branches and remove them before they fall. Even a healthy limb can buckle under the weight of ice buildup.
  • If your pipes freeze, try to thaw them immediately or call a plumber for help. You can try a hair dryer, heat lamp, or heating pad. 
  • If you experience a burst pipe, turn off the main shutoff valve first. Then, clean up any standing water and call a plumber to repair the pipe.

If you experience a burst pipe and water damage affects the surrounding area (such as carpet, flooring, drywall, or ceilings), contact a water restoration professional as soon as possible. They will thoroughly dry the affected area to avoid mold growth and remove damaged materials before repairs begin. 

These tips can help you be prepared and know how to handle threats to your home from a severe freeze. Even if this winter is another mild one, you’ll rest assured knowing that you can handle whatever it might bring!

For Property Damage Restoration, PuroClean Restoration Services is the One to Call! 

Have peace of mind this winter with PuroClean Restoration Services in Lanham! Our dedicated team is at your service 24/7, offering prompt and reliable property damage restoration. When winter throws challenges your way, we’re here to ensure your safety and restore your property to its pre-loss condition. Don’t let unexpected damage impact your home or business; our skilled experts will assist you when you need us most. Stay safe, secure, and worry-free with our comprehensive restoration services. Please get in touch with us at (301) 277-2755 today! 

Last edited on 19th of January 2024