Winter is upon us and fall is the best time to start the process of “winterizing” our homes. Here are five simple tips to get your house ready.
Plumbing: During the winter the temperature can drop below freezing thus freezing the water in our outdoor pipes. When water freezes it expands and can cause pipes to burst. When these pipes burst it can cause water damage and mold can start to grow. Fixing these pipes can be a great expense, but if we take the time to prepare our pipes; we can prevent this from happening. To waterproof your plumbing, shut off the supply of water to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems, and drain them. This simple task can save you a lot of money.
Chimney: Make sure your chimney is clean of soot and any animals that may have made it its home. Having it properly cleaned by a professional is the best way to go. The average chimney inspection costs around $100 and the actual chimney sweep is around $50. This small investment can prevent you from having to spend more money in the future if there is hazardous debris or soot that can cause a chimney fire or emissions of dangerous fumes into your home.
- Furnace: Have your furnace checked out to make sure it is working properly and efficiently. Change filters and check for carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. You can purchase a carbon monoxide detector at your local hardware store. If you do not feel comfortable checking your furnace, you can have your energy company come out to test it for a nominal fee or even free of charge depending on your energy provider.
- Radon Testing: Conduct a radon test. Radon is a natural occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium. It is found in our soil. Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that is considered to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. You can buy testing kit yourself or hire a qualified contractor.
- Trees: Trim any dead limbs on your trees. Branches can become weighted down with ice and snow when winter hits. If the branches are dead or dying, this extra weight can cause the branches to break and fall and damage what’s on the ground below, ie., your car or home. Trimming your trees is something you may be able to do, but if not it is worth the investment to have a professional come and do it.
Hope these simple tips help you and yours get ready for the winter. Winter is a time to enjoy the comforts of our homes and not worry about freezing pipes or falling branches. Our homes are our biggest investment and will always need some TLC.