Homes for the most part are rugged and can withstand typical seasonal weather. But Mother Nature can put that to the test with her extremes. Here are a few very simple things you can do to stay cozy, safe and hassle-free in the face of the worst that winter can throw your way.
- Know your pipes. Do a quick inventory of your crawl spaces and other nooks to find where pressurized water supply pipes might be vulnerable. If the primary pipe enters the house in a poorly insulated area (say in a crawl space or behind a wall with an access door) you might want to leave that access door ajar just a bit.
- Wrap key pipes. For the inside supply pipes located in cold areas (basements or attics), consider wrapping them in the kind of foam sleeves you can buy in home supply stores. Remember that this won’t add heat to the pipe, it will simply keep the pipe closer to the temperature of the water inside the pipe.
- Clean your gutters. Leaves can clog your gutters and downspouts allowing water and ice to back up under the edges of your roof and shingles. To avoid surprises during the Spring thaw, take some time now to check the length of your gutters and pull out all the muck and leaves that have accumulated. For your safety and to protect your shingles, it’s best to do this from below on a ladder.
- Check your attic. At least twice a year, ideally in the Fall and Spring, venture into your attic and look for evidence of water leakage. Contact a reputable roofing company to assess the situation if you see anything suspect.
- Check your fireplace. Before you use your fireplace for the first time in the season, get a quick inspection and cleaning from a chimney sweep. You never know what animal nests or debris might have collected over the warmer months. Not only will this service prevent built-up soot and debris from catching fire, but your airflow will also be improved and less smoke or fumes will push back into the house.
- Keep the cold out. Keep your energy bills manageable by ensuring all your windows are firmly closed and locked. Caulk the gaps in window frames and baseboards. Also, consider laying down some extra insulation in the attic – that’s one of the most significant pathways for cold air to enter your house.