Gearing Up For Winter – 5 Tips To Winterproof Your Home
By Steven De Nazareth
Well, technically it isn’t winter yet, but like the Starks say – “Winter is coming” and as a homeowner, you better be prepared for it. If you live in a region which sees subzero temperatures and biting winds, your house, and its contents could be in trouble. While snow covered trees and angelic white surroundings may look pretty, the potential damages that cold temperatures can cause to household appliances are no fun. Frozen water in the plumbing, malfunctioning humidifiers and the scariest of them all – broken radiators which means no heat! Many things could go wrong and if that happens in the dead of the winter, you could be in trouble. So before the winter sets in full swing, here’s a checklist of things you must get done.
Step 1: Plumbing Check
This step cannot be skipped, more so if your home is 4+ years old. The outdoor pipes face the biggest perils as they can easily have water freeze inside them causing grave damages. Like you learned in school, frozen water expands and this means that the pipe could burst if water has frozen inside it. Needless to stay, a burst pipe is not an ideal thing during Christmas season. Your septic piping may also need your attention. Clogged sewage or burst pipes within the sewage system are nightmares.
To prevent plumbing issues, here are some things that you could do –
- Leave the water running. Not torrentially, leave the faucets to trickle.
- Inside the home, keep the heating at a minimum of 550F.
- Pad or insulate the piping systems outside.
Step 2: HVAC Check
Unless you want to freeze to death, inspecting your HVAC unit or even better, getting a professional to check and run a maintenance routine is highly recommended. We have a dedicated HVAC maintenance checklist which you MUST go through to prevent possible breakdowns. Some things you could do to ensure smooth running of your HVAC unit are –
- Clean the furnace/boiler.
- Clear the vents to ensure that dirt and debris are not clogging it.
- Check external pipes for clogs and snow and clear them out.
Winters require your heating systems to work overtime and sometimes even round the clock. Even if they are in their best shape, here are some signs that could indicate that the system will become faulty soon. Watch for –
- Varied temperature zones within a room. Cold in one spot, hot in another.
- Shrieks and other unusual sounds from the vents or the system as such.
- Sudden fluctuations in the temperature in either direction.
If you see any of these signs, have a professional look at the system right away.
Step 3: Roof Check
Roofs often get the worst of it as they are constantly exposed. Roof tiles may crack or even break if the climate gets that harsh. Such cracks and breaks allow water to seep into your attic and disturb the temperature of your house, or worse, cause further cracks and breaks. It might be a good idea to get your roof inspected. If your roof sustains extensive damages, the repairs could cost you an average of $600.
Some DIY checks you could do are –
- Look for loose tiles/shingles
- Check your chimneys for clogs and debris
- Check attic for leaks and cracks
Step 4: Fireplace Check
Fireplaces were the first heating arrangements that civilized humans used. They are fairly inexpensive to maintain when compared to HVAC units. Before winter sets in, it might be a good idea to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. The general rule of thumb is that the fireplace must get cleaned once a year, ideally before the winter. A lot of ash and other fuel residue tends to accumulate within the fireplace which could lead it to function badly.
If you use gas, your fireplace will be considerably cleaner. However, there is always the risk of debris or leaves that fell through. Wood fireplaces may need a routine check from a professional.
Step 5: Appliance Warranty
Most American homeowners swear that an appliance warranty plan is the best strategy for budget protection. Any unexpected repair cost will get covered as long as the damage was caused due to normal wear and tear. Of course, for damages caused due to natural hazards or perils, you’ll need a homeowner’s insurance and not a home warranty. While both plans are designed to cover repair and replacement costs, homeowners insurance and home warranty are quite different from each other.
During winter, especially in regions where the temperatures drop really low, the risk of appliances getting damaged rises significantly. So, if you are not a home warranty customer already, you may seriously look into getting one. It could help you save thousands of dollars in the long run.
Happy Housekeeping During Winter!
Maintaining a house in good working order, especially when the climate gets harsh, is no easy feat. Which is why you need to go through our home maintenance checklist and execute the steps in it to ensure that you have a warm and cozy winter. The festive season is just around the corner and nothing spoils our mood more than faulty appliances. Keep your home warranty ready and you’ll have your peace of mind. Have a good winter!
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