Winter can be a lovely, calm and chill season (no pun intended) but the often harsh weather conditions can wear down on structures, so homeowners must take some precautions to keep their home safe and enjoy these cold few months with no issues.
Luckily, the kind of precautions we have to take here are nothing too complicated. Take your time going through these step by step and by the end, you’ll be fully prepared for winter!
“Learning never exhausts the mind. – Leonardo da Vinci
Trim tree branches
Tree branches that hang near your home and garage can be quite dangerous during the winter. Storms may throw them full force onto your home, which can crack shingles, scratch walls, or even break windows. Plus, the sheer weight of snow deposits can cause them to crack and fall – and if there’s a car or worse, a member of your family below, it can be seriously dangerous.
But the solution is simple – trim the branches as soon as you can. This will prevent any of these problems from ever happening!
Protect outdoor faucets
Leaving a hose attached to an outdoor faucet is not a good idea during the winter. Water that lingers inside can freeze, which causes it to expand and potentially burst pipes. Always drain spigots and hoses, and consider shutting off the valve inside the house to make sure your pipes are safe.
Clean your gutters
Gutters can easily get blocked during winter times due to leaves, debris, snow, and ice accumulating. At first these may cause minimal problems like gutters not draining properly, but if not taken care of, they can escalate to damaging your exterior paint and even compromising the structure of your roof.
If you suspect your gutters are clogged, have it inspected and cleaned right away!
Nothing’s worse than cold drafts entering your home during winter nights, because not only does it disrupt your warm comfort, but it also compromises the efficiency of your heating system. Allowing cold air to enter means you’ll spend more energy, which means more money spent on energy bills. And since energy bills already rise naturally during this season, it’s important to make sure our heating is efficient.
You can apply caulk to your windows and doors to keep the cold out. It’s a fairly easy DIY project to take on, but you can always hire a professional that can do it faster.
We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll mention it again – chimney sweeping is extremely important. A clogged or dirty chimney can become a major fire hazard and even damage the health of those living inside with carbon monoxide poisoning.
The best ways to prepare are to inspect and sweep your chimney regularly, along with having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home!
Prepare your car
Your car can suffer during long periods of heavy snow, especially if you have to take it out often during these times. Getting stranded after a car breakdown is already a huge nuisance, but during a snowstorm? That’s a whole new level.
The best course of action is to always have an emergency kit in the back of your car with extra batteries, spark plugs, a tire, and anything else that might come in handy during a breakdown.
Be sure to also prepare your tires and windshield wipers for the heavy snow!
Always carry ice melt in the car
While on the subject of preparing your car, it’s a good idea to always keep some ice melt handy – preferably on the back seat instead of the trunk (since the trunk can freeze shut in extreme conditions).
A bag of rock salt and a bag of sand should be enough for most situations where you need to melt some ice and give your car some traction around an icy spot.
All purpose emergency kit
Preparing your car for winter storms is one thing, but you should also prepare yourself for the same conditions. Pack an emergency kit in the back of your car to deal with any sudden breakdowns and keep it handy. This should contain things like a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares, spark cables, a simple first aid kit, extra blankets, and even some snacks in case you have to wait for help to come for a couple hours.
Use a humidifier
The air indoors tends to get dry during the winter, with the house being closed most of the time and relying on heating to maintain a comfortable atmosphere. But dry air can become a problem for the health of family members, as well as any indoors plants you might have.
This problem can be solved rather easily with the help of a humidifier. Some HVAC systems will already have this feature, but if that’s not the case for yours, you can purchase a small humidifier that works on a room-by-room basis and that’s already enough.
Be mindful though, as excessive moistness in the air leads to mold and mildew growth, so use it sparingly, according to manufacturer’s specification that taken room size into consideration.
Careful with hot showers
This is a warning more for your health than anything else – while hot showers can be deliciously tempting during those cold winter nights, the excessive heat can seriously dehydrate your skin, let alone increasing the energy bills dramatically. Try to manage the temperature for a comfortable heat that isn’t piping hot, and try to limit your showers to five minutes tops.
Need to know more about your heating system? Call a heating professional from your area and get free quotes today!