Our warm Summer weather is quickly diminishing leading us into the colder months, we put together a few helpful tips to ensure that you and your family stay warm and safe all winter long! Following these few tips can help ensure that you are prepared for whatever winter brings this year.
1. Check The Pipes:
We are all well aware that when water freezes it expands. This means that on cold winter days sitting water in your pipes will expand, too, causing your pipes to expand and crack. Pipes have a tendency to burst when pressure builds up behind a chunk of ice. It is always a good idea to leave faucets dripping in VERY COLD WEATER. If a pipe were to burst it can cause a huge unwanted mess. We put together a few tips to help you winterize your pipes to avoid any potential problem.
- If you have any outside water faucets or sprinkler system drain any water from those pipes to keep them from freezing.
Make sure that if you have any outdoor hoses you disconnect and store them away from the cold. Covering your outdoor faucets with a foam insulator can add extra insulation to prevent freezing water.
- Don’t forget about any water pipes that run through any unheated areas of your home protect these pipes with insulation. Check your attic, basement, or garage for any exposed pipe.
Tip: Know where your water shutoff valve is so that you can turn off the water in case of an emergency. Typically it’s located in the basement or buried near the road.
2. Check the Heat:
It’s important that you check your furnace before the cold weather hits to ensure that everything is in working order. Start by turning on the heat and blower to be sure that everything is working properly
- Change your furnace filter at the start of the season and then every two to four months. Filters will get clogged faster if you have pets that shed. A clogged filter is less efficient and means your home might not warm up as it should.
- Having a Programmable thermostat is a great way to save some money. Programming your thermostat to be cooler at night and when you are not home allows for less running time.
Tip: Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Everybody thinks of using fans in the summer, but they can help you stay warm in winter too. Set the blades to turn clockwise to circulate warm air from the ceiling down into the room.
3. Prevent Ice Dams:
When heat escapes from the roof of your house in the winter it causes the snow to melt, the snowmelt flows to your roof’s edge and refreezes, usually at the eaves. Its pretty common to see icicles hanging from the gutters but it signals an ice dam. If the ice dams don’t get cleared from the gutters it can make it impossible for any more melted snow to properly drain and in return pushes it somewhere else like through a leak in your roof causing unwanted water damage to your home.
Luckily a few simple steps before the cold temperature set in can go a long ways toward preventing any damages to your home.
- The number on cause of ice dams are clogged gutters to prevent this clean out and leaves of debris that can disrupt water flow.
- Seal places that may allow warm air to leak from your home to your attic, such as around vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches, and light fixtures.
If you’ve had problems with ice dams before or have reason to suspect you might this year, you can take these additional steps:
- Install snow and ice slides to prevent ice and snow from “bonding” to your roof.
- Install a rubberized ice and water shield beneath the roof shingles, going three to six feet back from the eaves.
- Hire a roofer to install heat cable along the eaves to melt ice.
- Add additional insulation to your attic floor.
4. Seal Windows and Doors:
Its obvious that gaps around windows and doors can make it tough to keep warm air in and cold air out. Caulking around the windows and Installing weather stripping around the doors if needed. Fixing theses problems can help you save on heating costs.