Check Your Gutters and Roof
Snow, ice, and cold temperatures mean that moisture and dampness will not dry out as quickly as it will in the summer, so problems with your gutters and roof can be magnified during the winter. Take these steps to be sure your gutters and roof are ready for winter weather.
- Inspect your roof for missing or loose shingles and check the flashing around skylights, chimneys, and vent pipes. Both of these issues can cause leaks to develop.
- Inspect your gutters to see that they’re properly fastened. In particular, note any sagging or loose gutters. The weight of winter ice and snow could pull them away from the house if they’re not well fastened.
- Clean leaves and other debris out of your gutters to ensure quick and clean drainage.
- Be sure the area around your downspouts is clear, so that ice doesn’t build up around your foundations from drainage.
Be sure that vent and pipe openings are screened to prevent birds and rodents from entering to seek warmth.
Prepare Your Pipes
Frozen pipes can be much more than a temporary inconvenience denying you the use of water in your home. In extreme cases, your pipes can burst, resulting in damage to your home and a hefty repair bill. There are some simple steps you can take to make sure that frozen pipes won’t be an issue for you this winter.
- Wrap pipes with foam insulation in unheated basements, garages, or crawl spaces.
- If you’re expecting extremely cold temperatures, open up cabinet doors below sinks and counters to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Turn your faucets on to allow a slow drip of water as well.
If you want your home to be a warm refuge from the colder temperatures of winter, keeping cold air out is one of the best ways to make that desire a reality. Get started with these steps.
- Add weather stripping around windows and doors. Feel for drafts around the edges of these openings and add weatherstripping to stop the flow of air. Even a small opening can make a big difference in your home’s comfort and heating efficiency. Caulking around the exterior edges of your windows also helps eliminate air leaks.
- Replace screens with storm windows. Many older windows don’t have integrated screens, so take screens out and put in your storm windows before the cold days and nights begin.
- Add curtains in front of patio and sliding glass doors. Even if the edges of these openings are tight, their large surfaces can radiate colder temperatures into your home from the outside. A simple curtain in front of them will help keep the inside of your home warmer.
Have Your Heating System Checked Out
Even a well-insulated home will be cold if your heating system isn’t up to the task. If you don’t have your home heating and cooling system inspected on a regular schedule by qualified technicians, now is a great time to start. These professionals will perform routine maintenance and inspect all the important components of your system to identify developing problems and ensure that your system will operate properly through the winter.
Regular inspections and maintenance will lower heating costs, extend the life of your equipment, and minimize the risk of breakdowns. It’s a smart investment to make in your home.
Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you have a fireplace or woodstove or use space heaters in the colder months of the year, you should make it a habit to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before you begin using these supplemental heat sources. In addition, make sure you have working detectors on each level of your home.
Do you plan on using a fireplace or woodstove during the winter? Make sure to have the chimney cleaned before you start using it.
Prep the Outside
We’ve concentrated on winterizing your house so far, but what about the rest of your property? Winter weather presents challenges for the rest of your property as well.
- Trim your trees of any overhanging branches that might damage your home in the event of an ice storm or heavy snowfall.
- Winterize outdoor water sources by turning off the water supply to outdoor faucets if possible, or at least draining and removing hoses. If you have a lawn irrigation system be sure it’s turned off and properly winterized.
- Make sure you’ve got the gear you need for snow and ice removal. You don’t want to have to drive to the store for ice-melting chemicals or a shovel after the big storm.
Have an Emergency Kit Ready to Go
You never know when a winter storm can cause disruption to power and make it difficult to get out and about. So it’s a wise idea to plan ahead for these eventualities by having a home emergency kit ready during the winter months. Here are a few key items you should have in your kit.
- Food and water are essential. Keep some canned and dried goods ready to go in the event that a power outage prevents you from cooking. And if you rely upon an electric well pump for your water, be sure to stockpile some water. Gallon jugs are a smart way to do this.
- Warm food is welcome when it’s cold and the power is out. Sterno cans can be used safely indoors. Don’t attempt to use camping stoves inside!
- Modern LED flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns are an excellent way to provide indoor lighting, and they’re much safer than candles. Don’t forget to have a good stock of batteries.
- Phone charging is important, especially if wireless networks are still working. Invest in some small battery chargers for your phones.
- A portable radio is a great way to keep up with the local news. Battery operated and crank-powered models are an excellent addition to your emergency kit.
Common Sense Safety
Remember, whether it’s an emergency or not, to use common sense during the winter months (and any time of the year). Don’t leave candles burning unattended, and if you’re using a generator for power keep it far enough from your home to prevent carbon monoxide from entering.
Get Help From the Pros
Your home winterization checklist may seem pretty daunting. But if you check all of these items off of your list you’re much more likely to have a warm and comfortable winter. Our team has the expertise to help you with many of the items on this list, plus help you select upgrades for your home, like new, well-insulated windows and doors. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out. Quotes are free, so don’t delay.
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY: TEAM ENOCH
(817) 888-8880 | mail[at]teamenoch.com
Team Enoch provides electrical, plumbing, roofing and HVAC services to residential and commercial customers in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metro with an emphasis on value (service price, quality).
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