Protecting the exterior of your home is critical during the cold winter months. There are a variety of issues that can arise both inside and outside your home due to freezing temperatures outside, and dry heated air inside. Fortunately, there are several preventative measures homeowners can perform to help alleviate some of the potential problems. Here is a list of some of the most common issues and some potential solutions to protect your home.
- Inspect Heating System: It is a good idea to get your furnace checked annually by a professional that will check both safety issues and performance measurements to optimize air flow.
- Check for Draft Areas: Heat will often escape through windows and doors. If you notice your windows are drafty, you may need to replace the weatherstripping or possibly add some caulk to seal the cracks. In addition, adding a door draft stopper can make a huge difference in minimizing the draft.
- Assess Safety Measures: With fresh air flow at a minimum, and more time inside during winter, it is always a good idea to check your homes safety devices. Check to make sure your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are both functioning properly by checking the battery and running a test to ensure they are working.
- Check Gutters and Drainage: When snow melts, make sure your gutters are draining properly to keep unwanted water away from your home. If gutters are clogged, they can overflow and pool next to your home leading to leaks into your home and possible foundation issues from frost heaves.
- Inspect roof: Snow on top of your roof can create ice dams at the edge of the roof. This can lead to water pooling on the roof and eventually finding its way into your home. In addition to potential roof leaks, icicles can form along the edge putting stress on the roof. You can clear snow away from the edge of the roof and add a de-icing agent into the gutters to melt ice and move the water away from your home.
- Evaluate Plumbing: Pipes can burst on extremely cold nights causing flooding in your home. Be sure to insulate exposed pipes with heat tape, and open cabinet doors to keep warm air circulating. In extreme cold, you can also let your faucet have a slow drip to keep water flowing in the pipe to help prevent freezing.
It is important to remember all the general wear and tear that happens to a home during the winter months. These are a few ideas that may help to maintain the structure and safety of your home while we wait for warmer days.
Steve Baldante, Manager of Municipal Properties