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.
- 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.
Fall foliage is beautiful, but not when it builds up in your gutters! Take these tips into account during the cool autumn months.
- Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
- Keep flammable materials, including all lawn and power equipment, away from water heaters and wiring in the basement.
- Insulate water pipes in areas exposed to cold temperatures, and turn up the thermostat during extra cold periods.
- Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important during the fall season to keep leaves from building up in gutters.
- Check and repair caulking around doors and windows that show signs of deterioration.
- Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases; and make repairs as needed.
- Have your chimney cleaned and maintained annually by a professional.
- Clean and/or replace your furnace filter.
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
- Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
- Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
- Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the battery annually or as needed.
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When water loss occurs, determining the type of water which enters the structure is vital in determining the proper steps needed to restore the dwelling back to pre-loss condition. Water intrusion is broken down into 3 Categories.
Based on the source of water, the length of time the water has been allowed to dwell in the structure, the temperature, and pre-existing conditions, it is possible to asses the category and employ the appropriate means of restoration. Here are the following categories:
Water from a clean source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort is said to be Category 1, or clean. In order to remain Category 1, water must not have been present for a substantial amount of time, and materials affected must be cleaned and maintained. Certain odors from the water loss can indicate that the water is not Category 1.
Examples of Category 1 water include broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows with no contaminants, and appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines.
Once the loss has been established as Category 1, the structural drying can proceed. It is possible to restore the structure to pre-loss conditions by thoroughly and rapidly drying materials, and only replacing materials which have permanent structural or aesthetic damage.
Part 2 will include both Category 2 and 3 descriptions.
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