'Tis the season for snowy weather and freezing nights. Winter brings many fun activities such as sledding, skiing, or simply walking around drinking hot cocoa and looking at Christmas decorations, but it can also cause problems for your home. Below, you'll find a winter checklist to ensure your home is safe during the long, cold nights ahead.
Protect Your Pipes
You don't want your pipes to freeze when the temperatures drop. Pipes in your basement, attic, or garage face the most risk, as these are typically unheated areas inside your home. Still, pipes beneath cabinets or exterior walls can freeze too if precautions aren't taken. The best way to prevent against frozen pipes is to install insulation. Pipe insulation can cost as little as 50 cents per linear foot and be found at your local hardware store. You should also keep garage doors closed, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors, and leave cold water dripping during the coldest nights of the year. If you're planning a vacation, leave the heat on in your home. The thermostat should be set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.
Fix Exterior Cracks
Any cracks in your home's exterior can cause moisture to seep into your house. Moisture causes all sorts of problems for homeowners, so do yourself a favor and block up any cracks or small holes before a bigger problem presents itself. You should also seal any cracks or gaps around your windows and door frames. This will help keep moisture and cold air out, while keeping warm air in. It'll also help make your home a little more energy-efficient.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Fall leaves are beautiful, decorating the landscape in hues of orange and red, but those leaves must fall. When they do, some of them get stuck in your gutter. Leaving leaves in your gutters can cause serious problems later on. Rain falls, water sits, and when the temperature drops, that water turns to ice. Ice in your gutters can cause damage that will cost you a lot of money in repairs. Save yourself the headache, and the extra expense, and remove any leaves or twigs that may have gotten trapped in your gutters.
Trim Your Trees
If you hear scraping noises on your windows and roof, you should consider trimming your trees and bushes. This will eliminate any creepy noises at night and prevent moisture from dripping onto your roof and down your siding.
Check Your Fireplace
Winter is a great time to cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa as you sit by the fire. But before you light a fire and watch a Christmas movie, you should check to make sure your fireplace is in safe working order. To inspect your fireplace, shine a flashlight up into the furnace to make sure the damper opens and closes correctly. Next, check for any debris, such as bird's nest, branches, or leaves. If your fireplace is free from debris, you should be able to see sunlight at the top of your chimney. Finally, check for cracks or other damage. If you find any, make sure to call a professional to inspect your fireplace before using it.
Inspect Your Roof
Snow is dangerous enough for normal roofs, but if you have damaged, loose, or missing shingles, the winter season can be especially damaging. During the winter season, it's common for water to get trapped on roofs as snow or ice melt. That trapped water refreezes when temperatures drop during the night, resulting in an ice dam. When the dam eventually thaws, it can cause water to travel under the roof system. This is more likely to occur if your roof is already compromised— So it's important to check your roof for damage and replace any missing or loose shingles immediately. Call a licensed professional to asses your findings and give you a free roofing estimate. Learn more about the things to consider when selecting a roofing contractor.
Going through this winter checklist will help give you peace of mind, so you can focus on time spent with family, making memories you'll cherish for years to come.
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