7 Essential Tips To Weather the Long Winter - Protect Your Home
Winter has come! It's best to prepare your home for the cold months ahead. Snow, ice, and freezing temps can wreak havoc on vulnerable households. Here are seven simple tips to shield your home this winter.
- Clean Your Gutters. Clogged gutters are more likely to freeze, and this can allow melting snow and ice to seep through your roof and damage your home's foundation. That's a costly repair. Knock it out on a Saturday morning before college game day starts (here's a solid video tutorial, but be careful on that ladder!), or fork over ~$150 and hire a professional.
- Check Roof to Prevent Ice Dams. What's an Ice Dam? It's a ridge of ice at the edge of the roof that prevents melting ice (i.e., water) from falling off the roof. This water pools up on the roof and can leak into the home. Not fun!
If you hire a professional to clean your gutters, ask for a quick review of the roof for the risk of ice dams. A leading cause of ice dams is heat escaping the home when it's freezing outside, so proper insulation in the attic is essential. Check the areas that are often the most exposed, such as pipes and vents, chimney systems, and lighting fixtures.
Lastly, make sure your attic has proper ventilation, as this allows cold air to flow through the attic to prevent melting. If your attic does not have a vent, you may want to consider contacting a roofing professional to install one, especially if you live in a colder climate.
- Protect Your Pipes. Water damage and freezing are the 2nd most common homeowners claim (1st place belongs to wind and hail). The average claim is $11,666! No thanks. There are a few things you can do to reduce risk here:
► Keep the heat on in the house (no lower than 55 degrees), even if you aren't around. If you are leaving for an extended period, it's best to drain your pipes. An insurance claim can go unpaid if the insurance carrier deems the insured did not take reasonable steps to prevent the damage.
► Let your faucets drip when it is super cold. A slow drip will allow for pressure release on the pipes.
► Check your home for any exposed piping, and wrap any at-risk areas in rubber or fiberglass pipe sleeves.
► Don't forget to turn off exterior faucets and lawn sprinkler systems.
- Stripping. Weather Stripping is an easy and cheap way to keep that costly heat inside the house. You can find weather stripping supplies at any hardware store. There are plenty of how-to videos online. Check your windows, doors, vents, fans, plumbing areas, electrical or gas lines, and air conditioners.
- Replace Furnace Filters. Pro-tip, replace filters every few months anyway to keep that machine humming clean.
- Chimney Sweep. A sweep can set you back $100 - $250. If you use your fireplace as a primary source of heat in the winter, get your chimney checked every year. Chimney flare-ups are often the result of creosote, a highly combustible residue build-up on the walls from burning wood.
- Stock up on the Essentials.
At your service,