Prepping for Winter

The temperatures have fallen into single digits the last few nights, and with that comes potential dangers to your home. Here are some tips for getting your home in order to handle a winter storm:

  • Clean out gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could become weighted down with ice or snow and fall on your house or your neighbor’s house.
  • Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
  • Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you’re not using it.
  • Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
  • Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking your home’s heating vents.
  • During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
  • If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
  • Avoid ice dams by keeping water from melted snow from refreezing in the gutters and seeping under the roof and soaking interior walls.

Here’s how:

  • Ventilate your attic. The colder it is, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.
  • Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
  • Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.