When the harsh cold days of winter come, you can get ready in no time. All you need is some warm clothes, a winter cap, scarf and gloves and you are good to go. However, getting your home ready for the winter is not that easy unless you have a home winter preparedness guide such as this one.
Read on to find out what you should do in and around your home to make it ready for winter.
Don’t let the pipes freeze
If you live in a cold climate, you should pay attention to your pipes. They can quickly freeze and crack or even break during the winter. This is an important part of winter preparedness. To avoid this, you should keep the heat on and maintain a consistent temperature in your house. If you are going away for the winter or are for some other reason unable to keep the place warm, insulate the pipes. You can use heating tape for that. There is a type of it that activates by itself once it senses that the temperature is too low.
Also, let the dripping faucets drip. The small amount of water running is enough to relieve the pressure and stop your pipes from bursting.
Close all the doors that lead to the outside, including your garage door. But, keep all the doors inside open, including the entrance to the cabinet where your pipes are located. That way, the air will circulate throughout the house. And the cabinet won’t be as cold as it would be if you leave it closed.
Finally, fix all the cracks and holes near the pipes. Once again, it is all about preventing that cold air from getting in. Use caulk or a spray foam gun to fill in any gaps in the walls. Do your best to fix the cracks both on the interior and the exterior of your home as part of your winter preparedness plan.
Stock up on ice-melting salt
Speaking of cracks and holes, another place around your home where you don’t want those is on your patio. Especially if you have smooth stone paving.
Be careful when using ice-melting salts, though. No matter the type or the manufacturers, they are all, well, salts, which means that they are abrasive by nature. If you do not use them properly, you can cause severe damage to your patio, driveway, or anywhere else. The best approach would be to mix them with some sand so that the salts can do their job without any unwanted harm.
You should also know that ice-melting salt is not a magical product that can make the ice disappear. All it does is prevent ice from forming, making the snow easier to shovel. That is why you should apply it in layers. Pour one layer before the snowstorm and one while the snow is falling. If you simply wait for the storm to stop and then pour a bunch of salt on top of the fallen snow and wait for a miracle to happen, you are doing it wrong.
Once the ice melts, make sure to scoop up any remaining salt and adequately dispose of it. Do not simply spread it across your lawn, as salt can lower the plants’ ability to soak up nutrients.
Also, if you have pets, don’t forget to wash their feet if they step into the salt. It can harm them, and licking the salt can only make matters worse for your pet.
Insulation matters for winter preparedness
Your water pipes aren’t the only thing you should insulate. As part of your winter preparedness plan, the rest of your house needs insulation, too. In your attic, you should have at least six inches of good thermal insulation to prevent any heat loss. Also, insulate your heat ducts to keep in as much heat as possible.
Believe it or not, even having heavy curtains on your windows can help you prevent the heat from escaping. What you want to do is keep those heavy curtains open throughout the day while the sun is shining and pull them closed once the sun sets down, thus trapping some of that natural heat.
Make sure your heating and air conditioning systems work properly
During late fall, no later than October, give your heating system a test run. When everything is OK, your furnace should turn on, and the warm air should start running within a few minutes. If not, call the repairman and get it fixed before the cold starts setting in.
When no maintenance on your heating system in a couple of years, your best bet would be to have an HVAC professional do the system checkup for you. If everything is in working order, the least you can do is replace the air filters to ensure that the heat is flowing freely.
Also, make sure that the exhaust vents are clean and free from any obstacles. A clogged exhaust vent can interfere with the furnace’s ability to work correctly. Worse yet, it can be a cause of carbon monoxide leakage, which can lead to poisoning. Set up battery-operated alarms that will alert you in case of leaking carbon monoxide or if there is a fire in your home.
Check the roof
The fall is a great time to start your winter preparedness. You should also inspect your roof and clean the gutters.
Check the roof to see if there are any broken or missing shingles and replace them. If you spot any bulging or blistering shingles, that can be a sign that water is collecting under them, which can cause some serious issues down the road, so replace them as well and check if any mold has started to form there.
Clear out your gutters and downspouts, too. If there is any debris or fallen branches clogging up your gutters, this can cause ice dams to form and cause damage to the walls and foundation of your home.
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.