WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2013
During the harsh winter months, having a warm and cozy place to call home to is important. However, people often neglect to take the proper steps necessary to keep their homes effectively heated and at minimal risk for damage from snow, sleet or hail. Creating a draft-free home, with no neglected risks, is not as difficult as it may seem. Consider the following steps, to help ensure that you avoid a shivery winter.
Step 1: The Heat
According to MSN.com, furnaces should be cleaned and tuned every year. This involves a proper inspection by a licensed professional. As you progress through the cold months, be sure to check your furnace’s filters regularly since they will get dirty when used often and a dirty filter could compromise the safety and performance of your furnace.
If you have a fireplace, be sure to have it checked before the first use of the season. Make sure you repair any cracks in your chimney and keep the area in front of the fireplace clear of debris.
This is also a great time to make sure your smoke detectors are working properly. In the winter, when the furnace, fireplace or space heaters are used, the risk of fire is heightened. Smoke detectors that work will help you get your family to safety in the event of a fire and will give you more time to call the fire department.
Install or check on the battery life of your carbon monoxide detectors. Furnaces emit carbon monoxide, so having a carbon monoxide detector is vital. This odorless gas can negatively affect the health and well-being of your family without you even realizing it. Unlike fire and smoke, there is no way for you to tell if your air has an unhealthy amount of carbon monoxide unless you have a properly functioning detection unit.
Step 2: Insulation Station
Cold air can creep in through cracks in windows and doors, or through walls that don’t offer enough insulation from the outside. Adding extra insulation to your attic or walls will help make your home retain the heat your furnace or fireplace creates and stop cold air from coming in.
Next, you should consider storm windows and doors to help prevent air from escaping through small cracks and openings. You can also re-caulk or add weather stripping around your windows and doors for added protection.
Step 3: From the Outside
Snow is heavy before it melts. Clean off your roof so that there is no extra debris causing additional weight on your roof. Also, fix any loose tiles so that you can prevent any leaking from the melted snow. You should also ensure that your gutters are empty so that they can effectively handle the snowfall and drainage.
It is also a good idea to insulation to any exposed pipes. Frozen pipes can burst which is not only a major inconvenience but can also lead to expensive repairs.
Make sure you have blankets or tarps ready to cover your any sensitive outdoor plants in the event of a freeze. Some plants are unable to withstand freezing temperatures and covering them can help to prevent serious damage from the elements.
The decreased likelihood for damages and insurance claims, will only increase your ability to enjoy the winter season.