Despite the mild start this year, winter is here and with its arrival comes more time spent indoors, colder temperatures and winter storms. Ice, snow, wind and cold can cause in-home dangers. However, with a little understanding and preparation, you can ensure your house weathers the chilly months so you have a safe and damage free winter.
Here are 7 tips for making sure your home is safe this winter:
1) Winterize Your Home – From installing storm windows to adding insulation to sealing cracks with caulk and applying weather stripping around door and window frames, winterizing your home can not only save you money on energy bills but also help you avoid issues, like ice dams. Popular Mechanics Tips
2) Give your Furnace a Tune Up – Schedule a maintenance visit with your HVAC company to have your system professionally cleaned and inspected and make sure it’s being properly ventilated to the outside. Also be sure to change your filter frequently (VERY IMPORTANT - usually monthly – check your furnace manual or ask your HVAC company). HomeAdvisor Link
3) Give Your Fireplace, Chimney and Roof Some TLC– Clean out your fireplace or wood stove and have your chimney inspected and swept, if needed. Also inspect your roof, repair any leaks and replace any missing or damaged shingles. This should be done each and every year.
4) Prevent frozen pipes – Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like those that feed exterior water faucets, swimming pools and pipes going into unheated interior areas like garages most frequently freeze. Make sure you drain water from supply lines and close inside valves. Also make sure that pipes feeding unheated areas are thoroughly insulated. It is a good idea that everyone in the house know where the main water shut off valve is located. Marking the main shut off valve may help in the event of an emergency. For a Free Water Main Valve Identifier Tag – just stop by the office to pick one up.
5) Check Your Fire and CO Detectors–From space heaters to candles to unattended stove tops, home fires increase in the winter. Ensure both your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and that they have new batteries. Also make sure you have detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor of your home. For a Free 9v Battery – just stop by our office to pick one up. (Limit one free battery per household please.)
6) Be Prepared for Storms and Power Outages – From stocking up on snow melt, nonperishable foods and bottled water to ensuring your snow blower, shovel and roof rake are accessible and ready to go (including fuel), be prepared for winter storms. When snowstorms hit, also make sure your heating vents aren’t blocked by snow, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. In the event there is a power outage, make sure you have a safe alternate heating source as well as a hand-crank radio, flashlights with new batteries and backup battery or solar-powered chargers to keep cell phones charged. If possible, do maintenance heading into winter to avoid emergency repairs, which are not only harder to get scheduled but also often more expensive. A little prevention will go a long way in giving you peace of mind and ensuring you can enjoy winter from the comfort of your safe and warm home. Red Cross Link
And don't forget to do a checkup on your homeowners insurance. Call us at 937-962-2123 or go to our website and fill out a request to review your policy (even if you are not our customer.)