As the saying goes, “Winter is coming, ” and you need to prepare your home to ensure you and your family stay safe and warm. There are numerous things everyone can do around their house to keep their home well-insulated and in top shape for whatever winter brings your way. We have compiled a few easy steps to follow to keep your home nice and cozy through even the toughest of winters.
Tackle the Easy Stuff First!
The most vulnerable areas in any home are entrances and exits. You aren’t just letting the dog out to do its business; you are letting out your heat as well. That’s not something we have much control over, but when it comes to gaps, we need to give them our attention. Gaps around windows and doors allow for heat to escape and while a small gap of a millimeter or two doesn’t seem like much space, but it’s enough to skyrocket your heating bill. Apply weather strips and window sealant where necessary. This minor and inexpensive task will help you save on your heating bill and keep the warm air where it belongs: in your home!
Keep Your Family Safe
Winter can create dangerous weather conditions, so be prepared! Everyone should have a disaster kit in their home in the event of an emergency. In most cases, this is going to be the result of a power outage, which can be dangerous if your heating is electrical.
Additionally, icy windows, gutters, driveways, and entrances are hazardous and could cause damage to your home. They can also prevent you from addressing a scary situation in a timely fashion. Prepare your disaster kit so you can be ready for any situation.
When putting together your emergency kit, you need to make sure you have, at the very minimum, the following:
- Shovels/Ice Picks
- Ice Melt Salt
- Portable Phone Charger
- Heat Packs/Fire Wood
- Drinking Water
- Emergency Contact Numbers
Make sure everyone in the house knows where the kit is and what’s inside.
Winterize Those Pipes…
One of the most expensive issues you can have as a result of a tough winter is replacing your pipes once they have frozen and ruptured. Winterizing your pipes will keep this from happening throughout the most severe weather. Drain the water from outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems, so they don’t freeze and burst. You aren’t going to be using your outdoor hoses during winter so disconnect them and put them somewhere inside. Once that’s done, don’t forget to cover the outdoor faucets with foam insulators to keep them safe. Also, identify any water pipes that run through the unheated parts of your home such as the attic, basement, or garage. You need to insulate these pipes as well to protect them throughout the winter.
Prep Your Outdoor Equipment
Next, you want to make sure you clean and store your outdoor equipment. Just like you won’t be using your garden hose in the winter, you won’t need your lawn equipment either. Your gas-powered or electric lawn mowers, trimmers, tillers, and chippers would do well with a servicing prior to being stored. This ensures they won’t corrode in storage or get rusty. Don’t forget to drain and dispose of any excess gas to prevent the fuel from coagulating. Check with your local community on the best and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your gasoline—don’t just pour it down the drain!
Prevent a Leaky Roof
In those especially cold areas, you need to protect yourself from ice dams. An ice dam forms whenever heat escapes through the roof and melts the snow that’s settled there. When this happens, the snowmelt flows to the edge of your roof and refreezes, most often in the eaves. This can cause problems for your home when the snow later melts, but since it cannot properly drain and has to go somewhere, it tends to melt under your shingles and finds its way into your home. This can lead to severe water damage and leaks in your roof that you don’t want to have to deal with when those Spring showers hit after the snow melts.
Ready the Fireplace and Clear Out the Chimney
If you have one, you need to inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney. The last thing you want is to have some animal nesting in there when you light a nice fire to keep yourself warm. Those animals might find that their best avenue of escape is right down into your house!
You are also at risk of a house fire if the chimney is not properly cleaned. There are numerous ways to clean your chimney, but being proactive will save you from a potential catastrophe.
Winter can be a beautiful time of year, but it doesn’t come without its risks and dangers. Power outages and snow damage can be costly so make sure you follow the steps we have outlined have a winter the entire family can enjoy.