Although some homeowners wait all year for winter weather, colder temperatures bring their share of challenges. Get ready before cold weather arrives to protect your home and keep your family comfortable. Here are a few tips to help you as you’re preparing your home for winter.
Preparing the Plumbing in Your Home Before Winter
Before the weather dips below freezing, check the plumbing to make sure the pipes are well-insulated. This is especially important for pipes that are on external walls as they are more susceptible to freezing in the cold. Frozen pipes can burst and cause water damage in your home. Insulate the pipes with tubes of pipe insulation and, if it’s especially cold in your area, install heat tape to keep the plumbing at a safe temperature.
Heating Your Home
Most families who have a fireplace enjoy a warm, cozy fire when the temperatures drop. Before using your fireplace, inspect it for damage. Check the firebox, chimney, damper, and chimney cap. Make sure there is nothing blocking the air from flowing out. Trim overhanging branches near the chimney as they are a fire hazard.
Whether you’re heating with a fireplace or space heater, keep flammable items several feet away. Curtains, blankets, and even furniture can catch fire. Never leave a fire or space heater unattended. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the house or going to bed.
To stay safe this winter, test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure the batteries are fresh and that the alarm will sound.
Clean the Gutters When Preparing Your Home for Winter
Before the snow begins to fall, clear out your home’s gutters. Remove leaves, dirt, and debris from your gutters and downspouts so water and snowmelt can flow freely away from your home. If the gutter becomes clogged and water freezes inside, the ice can push up under roofing materials and cause damage. Gutters filled with ice and debris are heavy and may tear away from your home. Keeping them free of clogs is important year-round, but especially in the winter months.
Be Ready for a Power Outage
Because of heavy snowfall and ice storms, it’s good to be prepared for a power outage in the winter. Be sure to have flashlights, candles, and batteries on hand. Stock up on emergency food and water. Canned goods, dried fruit, and other types of non-perishable foods are great to have on hand. Store several gallons of clean drinking water. You’ll want to have one gallon per person per day, plus additional water for cleaning and bathing.
Build an emergency kit with a small propane-powered camp stove, can opener, solar-powered phone charger, and other essential items. Be prepared with warm clothing, gloves, and blankets to keep your family warm if the power goes out.