If you’ve stepped outside the past few days, you’d understand that it’s blistering cold out. The polar vortex is upon us and winter has yet to officially begin! The long winter months can bring testing times and unwanted stress to your homes structure. Before it get’s even colder out, we would like to give you some recommendations on how to be prepare your home for winter.
Here are a few ideas to help you get prepared and protect the lovely house from the bites of bitter cold:
Check the rooftop, tiles, window frames and door frames for any possible air leaks. Replace broken or missing tiles, put weather strips on the window and door frames to prevent air flow through the leaks. Have a professional check and confirm that the roof is steady enough to handle the pressure of a heavy snowfall. Else, take the required preventive measures. If possible, use double pained or storm windows to ensure the heat stays inside longer.
Clean the gutters right at the beginning of the winter season and check on them periodically during the cold weather. The leaves from fall season, dirt and other junk items can clog the gutters causing the ice water to stay in there and eventually sip in through the walls just below the roofs – this is known as ice dam. Avoid this damage as it may cost very dearly to repair thoroughly.
Insulate the house’s exterior walls, the bare strips of the pipes, the attics and the crawlspace to the basements to avoid heat leakages and hassles with frozen pipes. Stow away all outdoor hoses after draining them for any remaining water in them and shut down the outside faucets. If the faucets cannot be shut down completely, have them run a slow dip using both hot and cold pipes. This will prevent them from freezing over and bursting later. Close the house’s outside vents. But be careful to never block the roof vents, dryer exhausts, chimneys or plumbing vent stacks.
Utilize the heat inside the house to the required level, as much as possible. Seal off the unused rooms or less used areas of the house. Set the thermostat to a minimum level when there’s no one staying inside the house or at night, while sleeping hours. This will have a noticeable impact on saving the cost of heating and also will provide a longer life to the heating equipment (stoves, furnaces, heaters etc.). Install a programmable thermostat for this, if feasible, and avoid the hassles of forgetfulness to manually set the temperatures every time.
Open the grates of the air vents and cleanup as much dust and dirt as possible inside. These affect the airflow within the vents and also soak up heat themselves, effectively setting a room to a much colder temperature than it should have been in otherwise.
No one likes to go to the grocery store hours before the first significant snow fall. Prepare an emergency kit with first aid medicines, non-perishable food items, water, flash lights, spare batteries for the thermostats, snow shovels, heating tapes etc. and keep it handy. Inform all house boarders of the location of this kit. It is better to be ready in case of any winter related accidents than to scramble and search at the very moment. Also, stock up on the fuel for your heating system, in time.
Be a good homeowner and trim the longer branches of the trees in your yard that may approach to your roof and/or windows or your neighbors’, at the end of fall season. Discuss with and encourage your neighbors also to take this necessary precaution, if applicable. A snow laden big tree branch can cause serious damages to the properties, cars, or even injure the family members. Be proactive and remove the possibility beforehand.
Ensure to have the smoke alarm and the carbon monoxide alarms working as expected. Replace the batteries powering these alarms with fresh ones. Keep a working fire extinguisher handy for emergencies.
Take all necessary precautions to winterize the home properly, before leaving. Shut off the water supply to the house and drain the plumbing system at the same time. This way, the hazards of frozen pipes and/or other plumbing failures can be avoided while you enjoy the vacation worry-free.
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