Cold weather is officially upon us. Whether you’re anticipating building a snowman that rivals Frosty and enjoying toasty nights by the fire, or find yourself dreaming of escaping to the lands where palm trees sway, if you live in the Midwest, you need to prepare your home for winter. (And yes, that includes buying carrots for your snowman’s nose and hot cocoa for sipping fireside!)
Before you get too carried away with planning wintertime fun, make sure your home is safe and secure through the coldest months by attending to these five key winter home preparation tips. You’ll ensure that your fun doesn’t get spoiled by an unexpected event, such as a frozen or burst pipe or roof damage that might result in the need for the services of a restoration company.
- Make sure the only fires in your home are safe ones. You might be excited to cozy up to the fire, but you need to make sure your fireplace is safe to burn. Have your fireplace inspected by a certified chimney sweep annually to ensure its clean, safe and free of creosote build-up. To avoid the risk of a house fire that requires fire damage and smoke restoration service, never leave a fire burning unattended or try to use a fireplace to heat your home in the event of a power failure.
- Mind the gaps. Weather stripping and caulk are your best friends in the winter. Do a thorough investigation of the areas around your doors and windows, looking for cracks. Caulk around window frames and use weather-stripping to close gaps between your doors and doorframes. Keeping the cold air out and the warm air in will help you guard against frozen pipes under sinks, in your basement and in rooms you tend not to use in cold weather. Frozen pipes that burst can lead to flooded basements, which can really put a damper on your holiday fun!
- Check under the hood. While you’re scheduling your appointment with your chimney sweep, put in a call to your HVAC person for furnace maintenance as well. Your furnace carries a heavy load in the winter months, and it’s certainly better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to its operation. Make sure your furnace filters are clean, and have the pilot checked to ensure that your mechanicals are clean, safe and ready to function reliably to keep your family safe and warm all winter long.
- Check above the hood. Winter home maintenance also includes paying attention to your roof. Make sure your gutters are clean to avoid ice dams and check the insulation in your attic. Invest in a roof rake to clear heavy snow to avoid winter roof damage. Inspect your downspouts to ensure they’re clear of debris so they don’t clog and create backups of ice and snow that will prevent melting snow from draining away from your house.
- Nip it in the bud. Inspect and trim the trees around your property to reduce the risk of iced-over tree limbs snapping off and falling on your home, causing roof damage that might result in need for board-up service from a restoration company. Winter storms with high winds can also create dangerous situations with trees near your roof and windows. Cut away branches that could reach your windows in windy conditions.
Winter brings the excitement of the holidays, the treasures of new gifts and family time, and the anticipation of the new year. Once we ring in the new year, it’s only a matter of time before spring flowers start to pop up and we’re grilling instead of chilling. During the time that Old Man Winter is doing his best to chill us, attending to these five key winter preparation tips will mean a safe, cozy and wonderful winter for your home and your family.
Speaking of family time, there’s no time like the present to review family safety and ensure that every member of your family knows what to do in an unexpected event like a house fire or power failure. Take a moment now to have a family meeting about your emergency preparedness plan before your holiday company arrives.
Should you find yourself in need of restoration services for your home or business over the winter, there’s a team of certified and trained fire restoration experts just a phone call away at Hays + Sons–24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With 140 employees, 120 vehicles, and eight separate locations, Hays + Sons has the Midwest covered, all winter long.
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