As the weather gets colder, there are a few different things that you can do to help ensure that you, your family and your home are warm and safe throughout the winter. The following seven steps are certain to ensure your home is in tip-top shape for this upcoming winter:
Step #1: Protect Your Plumbing Pipes
As water freezes, it will expand. If there is water inside of your plumbing pipes that freezes, it will expand. If this happens, then your pipes are going to crack and burst. Pipes can also tend to burst if pressure builds up if there is a chunk of ice around them. This is why it is suggested that you leave your faucets dripping when the weather is extremely cold. In either instance, if your pipes burst, major damage can ensue. Here are a few things you can do to help winterize your plumbing pipes to avoid damage:
Step #2: Check Your Heat
You want to ensure that your home is warm throughout the winter, but you need to do this before winter strikes. So, to inspect your heat and ensure it is working properly, turn on your furnace to make certain that the blower kicks on and that warm air is blowing out. In addition, here are a couple of others tips:
Step #3: Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams can be very dangerous for your roof. They form when heat seeps through your roof and melts any snow that has accumulated there. When that snow melts, it flows to the edge of your roof and refreezes, generally at the roof eaves. While this creates beautiful icicles, it can also form a horrible ice dam underneath. The issue with ice dams is that any snow that later melts is unable to drain properly. Unfortunately, the melting snow has to go somewhere, and it usually finds a leak in the roof, resulting in water damage inside your home.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the formation of ice dams on your roof:
If you have had issues with ice dams in previous years, here are some additional precautions you may want to consider taking this year:
Step #4: Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney
One of the best parts of winter is being able to sit in front of the fireplace and listen to the crackle of the wood. However, before you can do this, it is important that your fireplace and chimney are properly inspected and cleaned after having not been in use for so many months.
It is advisable to have a professional come out and perform a chimney sweep, which will remove any soot buildup and any other debris that could cause a fire. When the fireplace and chimney are not in use, the flue should be kept closed to ensure that no cold air is coming in through the chimney, which ensures you home remains warm. You could also consider install a chimney inflatable or glass fireplace doors to help block cold air from entering the home from the chimney.
Step #5: Seal Windows and Doors
During the winter, one of the main things in the house that makes it difficult to keep your home warm is gaps around doors and windows. Therefore, you need to go around and see if you feel any drafts around windows and doors. One way to do this is to light a candle and take it around with you. If the flame flickers, then there is a gap that needs to be sealed with caulking or weather stripping. Caulking is generally used around windows and weather stripping is used around doors. The great news is that this is the easiest and least expensive way to save on your heating bill.
It is worth mentioning that you have older doors and windows, they could be uninsulated doors or single-pane windows, which means that they are inefficient. It may be a good idea to consider upgrading to insulated doors and double or triple-pane windows, as these will help increase the energy-efficiency of your entire home.
You have one other option – add storm doors and windows. If you decide to go this route, you could take the screens off and store them for when spring rolls around them so that you can have them installed and reap their benefits.
Step #6: Clean and Store Lawn Equipment
After you have used all of your summer lawn equipment, it is time to put it all up for the winter. However, before you do so, you need to clean and service all of it. Apart from checking the owner’s manual for each piece of equipment for specific requirements, here are some general guidelines:
Step #7: Stock Up on Cold Weather Fundamentals
It isn’t uncommon for a bad winter storm to hit. When they do, a power outage often comes with it. You want to ensure that you and your family are ready for the worst, which means you need to get an emergency kit together. Everyone will have their own version of an emergency kit, but here are a few basics that you need to have at your home:
If you need help preparing your home for winter, contact us at Frederick Services and we will be happy to help you.
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