Winter Prep: What You Need to Do Before it Gets Colder
Many people put off preparing for winter weather until it is too late. If you wait for it to get cold, you might not have time to get ready. Every year the LaPointe Construction Board Up Service team helps many of our friends and neighbors winterize their homes. Unfortunately, we also get plenty of calls from those who have failed to prepare adequately. Burst pipes, roof leaks, and other disasters tend to follow along with dropping temperatures.
Whether you are going to head south and avoid the cold weather or are preparing to battle the cold all season long, these tips can help you to avoid disaster this winter.
If you have a car, make sure it’s safe to drive this winter.
- Batteries more than a couple of years old might not be able to handle frigid temperatures. Have your battery tested, and replace it if needed. If you have a garage or shed, make room for your car inside. A car parked outside can have trouble starting in the cold air.
- Snow tires or chains can be an asset for many drivers. If you don’t have experience installing them, ask your mechanic for assistance. While you’re at it, check your antifreeze and other fluid levels, or ask your mechanic to do it.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car – a blanket, flashlight, jumper cables, and back-up phone charger can come in handy. You might want to include a water bottle, some granola bars, diapers, and other items depending on your needs.
One of the biggest problems that homeowners face in the winter is burst pipes. While it can lead to water damage that can be both extensive and expensive, it is also often avoidable. Some pipes are more vulnerable than others, like those on exterior walls and unfinished basements.
- Add extra insulation or heat tape to vulnerable pipes.
- When temperatures are going to drop below zero, leave faucets dripping to prevent freeze-up.
- If your home is going to be vacant for an extended period, such as when you are traveling or spending the winter in a warmer climate, turn off the water to the home and drain the pipes.
As long as it’s cold, ice and snow on the roof aren’t too big of a problem. When it starts to melt, however, they can turn into a disaster. Heavy build-up can damage the roof, and when it starts to thaw you are left with leaks and water damage. Even more dangerous, the ice and snow over eaves and doorways loosens up as it begins to that, and it can fall and injure people or pets.
- If you can do so safely, periodically get up on the roof and shovel or brush the snow away.
- Use de-icing cables or a chemical de-icer to remove ice safely and prevent build up.
One of the biggest winter dangers is heating accidents. Whatever kind of heating methods you use, make sure to do so safely. Accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning take lives every year.
- Have your furnace inspected and your filters changed before you turn it on the first time.
- If you use a space heater, make sure it is a safe distance from curtains, clothing, and other flammable materials. They can also start a fire if they overheat or tip over. Make sure to turn them off when sleeping or away from home.
- Propane and other gas-powered heaters can really warm up a space, but they can be very dangerous if poorly ventilated. Never use them when sleeping, and make sure you have good ventilation and a working carbon monoxide detector.
- If you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove for heat, make sure to have a fire-proof rug, a metal screen, or other safety measures in place to guard against stray sparks.
Winter is one of our favorite times of year. We love the ice and snow, especially when sitting by a cozy fire in our nicely heated home. However, if you don’t take some basic safety precautions these pleasures can turn dangerous. Let LaPointe Construction Board Up Service help you get your home ready for winter. Call us at 978-447-5991 and see how we can help you!