Helpful Winter Tips for Your Home
Fall is in the air and it is important that we remember to prepare and gear up for our winter cold. The worst thing in the world is turning on the heat and to have cold air blow through the system, or worse yet, pipes freezing and we have water damage. Today I am going to give you a relatively easy checklist of points to do before winter. Remember, winterizing can prevent harmful damage.
Contact a roofer to inspect the roof for missing flashing or damaged shingles. Check for flashing missing around your fireplace or other areas of roof projections. These areas are cause for roof leaks due to winter rain and snow.
Make sure your downspouts and gutters are clean from debris. Dirt, leaves and debris add a significant amount of weight and volume to gutters when these items become frozen from winter snow and do not allow water to leave the gutter system properly.
Test your system now to make sure it heats at 80 degrees. Listen for the furnace to turn on and start to blow warm air. Make sure the system has clean air filters installed and if you have a propane system make sure your storage tank is ready to go.
Carbon Monoxide/Fire Alarms
Make sure these systems have new batteries installed
Clean all debris away from the outside unit. You can cover the condensing unit with a breathable waterproof cover; this will extend the life of the unit.
Have the chimney checked and cleaned. Check the damper to make sure it opens and closes. Make sure the fireplace draws correctly now instead of waiting until you have a full roaring fire. If you have a brick fireplace check for open mortar joints and have those repaired now! A fire can spread into the wall behind the fire brink in seconds.
Remember that plumbing is susceptible to our cold. As we found out from last winter, bursting pipes happened all throughout town. If you have exposed pipes makes sure they are insulated them. Check exterior faucets to make sure the water supply is drained. Disconnect all hoses from outside faucets.
Check windows for air leaks
Infiltration of cold air is a user of your winter heat. Seal all drafts.
Make sure you winterize your system no later than the end of October. Turn off the water supply and purge the sprinkler lines. If you need assistance, our landscapers can help you.
If you leave your area home in the winter and it is vacant, you must also remember to winterize.
Turn off the water. Unused plumbing lines during the winter can easily burst with freezing and thawing cycles. After turning off the water, open all faucets and allow them to drain completely. It is a good idea to keep water in toilet bowls to prevent sewer gases from the inside air. If you do not turn off the water, then make sure all exposed pipes are wrapped – this includes all pipes under cupboards in garages, basements, etc. If you do not want to turn off the water, you can leave a trickle of water running to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting. It is recommended to leave the water trickling from a faucet closest to where water enters the house and then at a faucet that is the farthest away from where the water line enters the home.
Make sure all electric and gas systems are operating properly and keep the utilities on. You might want to keep the heat on low to help protect the inside of the home; a minimal heating bill certainly seems to out weigh the potential cost of repairs.
Again as with an occupied home, check the gutter and roof systems. Gutters can develop real winter problems if ice and snow is allowed to build up, so make sure they are clean.
Did you know that antifreeze can be installed to protect plumbing in severe winter areas? Antifreeze prevents the pipes from bursting in sub zero temperatures and special non-toxic antifreeze is available for home systems. Before you decide to give your plumbing system a healthy dose of environmentally friendly antifreeze for the winter – call a YCCA plumber first to cover all of your bases!
If you are leaving your home for the winter another good winterization tip is to have your neighbor check on your home every few weeks if possible.
Remember, for winterization you can certainly take precautions wherever you can, however unexpected situations can occur so an astute shrewd look around your home can make the difference between a problem or potential crisis being caught early or a problem or potential crisis that can lead to damage and a huge expense and repairs.