Tips for Winterizing Your Home and Preventing Disasters

water damage minneapolisJust as you go through your closets and pull out jackets, coats, hats, boots, and gloves to prepare for the cold, your house requires the same preparation. Over the last 20 years, 24Restore has seen what cold weather can do to a home. Frozen pipes and ice dams can create major water damages and unwanted chaos in your home or business. The important thing for everyone to know is it can be prevented. Here are some friendly tips from your friends at 24Restore on winterizing your home and/or office.

Clean Your Gutters

Now that the leaves have fallen, clean out your gutters completely to allow winter’s rains and snow to drain. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and freeze, causing water to leak through your roof and into your home. This is called an ice dam. Large icicles from your roof can be a red flag that you may have ice dams. For more information on ice dams and the anatomy of an ice dam click here.

Seal Your Windows

This is the time of year to take out your screens and put in your storm windows. Storm windows provide an extra layer of protection and are great for keeping the heat inside your home. If you don’t have storm windows (they can be expensive), think about sealing your drafty windows with a window insulator kit, which can be found at a local hardware store. The plastic sheeting will shrink-wrap to your windows to keep the cold air out for a fraction of the cost of storm windows.

Add Insulation

You can add insulation to your attic and roof so heat doesn’t escape through the top of your home. It will save you money by keeping more heat in your living areas and it will also help prevent ice dams from forming.

Wrap Your Pipes

Frozen pipes can be a nightmare and cause major water damage. Before the cold hits, make sure that you turn off the water to your hose bibs outside and drain the lines.

You may also have exposed piping in unheated or under heated areas of your home such as crawlspaces, basements, and garages. You can buy pre-molded foam sleeves and heating tape to wrap your pipes to prevent them from freezing. For more information on preventing and thawing frozen pipes click here.

While you’re doing all the other winterizing preparations to prevent an unwanted water damage, take a few extra minutes to also prevent a smoke or fire damage.

Check Your Furnace

Check the performance of your furnace before the really cold months hit. You could have your furnace serviced once a year, which includes getting a filter changed and a basic inspection. Clogged furnace filters can cause inefficiencies in your heating system and possibly fire.

Clean Your Chimney

Your chimney should be at least inspected every year. If it doesn’t have a cap on the top, it may have accumulated debris and objects that could be flammable. Wood stoves should be cleaned more than once a year.

Clean Your Ducts

Did you know your duct system only needs to be cleaned every 6-8 years? A professional with the right equipment should do this. You’ll be circulating a lot of air through your duct system in the winter and you’ll want it to be clean and free of debris and dust. Dryer vents should be cleaned every year to rid it of lint build up.

Last but not least…

Test Your Smoke Detector

Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years. For the safety of you and your family don’t forget to replace the batteries and test them annually to ensure they are working properly. So simple to do but something that is sadly overlooked by so many!