It’s that time of year again! Crank up the fires, turn on the Christmas music (it’s never too early), and pull out the decorations. Two months to Christmas time, and you know what that means, cold weather is in full force upon us. We’ve already experience some snow, even before Halloween this year, and are sure to see a lot more in the coming months. This is our winter preparation blog to get better prepared to combat extreme conditions this season can throw at us (as opposed to last year’s surprise). First, we need to establish what the threats are, then we will explain how to defend your home against them, and finally we will give you options if preparation still couldn’t prevent issues from occurring.
- Problem: As the weather cools down outside, animals will be seeking refuge in warmer locations, especially when attempting to protect their young. An all too often prime location is the warmed attic above your living space. If not properly protected, animals can create a new home in this location, piling up feces, attracting unwanted diseases, mold, and insects. If left unattended this could even lead to roof obstruction or ceilings falling in.
- How to Prevent: Do a visual check both outside of your home as well as inside the attic and basement/crawl space to ensure there are now obvious openings that could be a place for animals to enter from. Check periodically to ensure there are no animals already inside these places. As said above, allowing them to invade for too long can cause a great amount of damage requiring extensive and costly repairs.
- Problem: As we all know, freezing temperatures cause, well, freezing. This is most prevalent in our lives when it comes to traveling safely on our daily commutes, but it can also have an immense impact on the wellbeing of our homes. Hoses can burst, irrigation/sprinkler pipes can crack, and underhouse/wall piping can burst causing flooding of the home.
- How to Prevent: Check the insulation around your pipes in crawl spaces. Check exterior walls for any openings. Check your hose bibs. If you know of any freezing nights or that you’re going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, turn your faucets on to a slow drip to allow water movement throughout the pipes.
- Problem: Extreme changes in temperature can have a vast impact on solid objects under duress. For example, when the foundation of a home goes from hot to cold really quickly, the expansion to compression can cause cracking. Usually these are only cosmetic, but larger cracks can lead to larger issues of your home’s stability (come the windy spring season).
- How to Prevent: Inspect the foundation of your home every six months to check for any large cracking. Anything that seem like it could be structurally unsound would be inspected by a professional.
House Fires from Fireplaces/Electricity
- Problem: Sure, it’s getting cold, but one of the largest dangers in this season is actually a house fire. Fires in this time of the year can come from a variety of places: overloading plugins for decorations/Christmas lights, failing to ensure the safety of your fireplace when cranking it up for the season, ventilation issues, electrical issues, hot water heater malfunctions, etc. In almost all these scenarios, the homeowner is unaware of the issue until it is too late.
- How to Prevent: The first thing to do before cranking up the heat or lighting a fire for the winter is to check your fire alarms to ensure they’re working correctly. Change batteries as needed as well. We all know how annoying it is to hear the constant beeping form a low battery; so, it is better to replace them at least yearly to make sure you don’t have this nuisance. Make sure you clean out your fireplace and chimney to ensure there is no hazardous buildup that could increase chances of an unfortunate circumstance.
Seal Leaks Around Doors/drafts
- Problem: As temperatures change from year to year and your house gets battered by the conditions of each season, the seals around windows, doors, and other ventilation area can begin to erode allowing cold air to leak into your home.
- How to Prevent: Walk around your house with a stick of incense (make sure it’s lit!) and see if there is any irregular smoke movement around windows/doors. If you find leaks, repair the seals to prevent further increases in erosion.
Roof Obstructions (tree branches, gutters no allowing draining to pile up snow)
- Problem: During the fall and winter seasons, leaves and pine needles fall off trees. This can build up in the crevices of your roof or in your rain gutters. This blockage can be a perfect place for snow to pile up and cause severe water damage to your roof, attic, and home. Enough enough can even cause structural damage. In some cases, the buildup of snow on branches above your home can cause them to collapse, damaging your roof.
- How to Prevent: Look for any tree branches that could potentially be hazardous above your home. Remove these, or call a tree service to do so for you. Also, remove any debris from your roof as well as your rain gutters to allow them to do their job and prevent buildup of snow on your roof during these next few months.
If you take all these steps you have prevents many of the common household issues that come up during the winter months. We hope this helps prevent you from any disasters this holiday season. In the unfortunate case that something goes awry, feel free to call us 24/7 and we will make sure to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible.