It’s official: fall is here, and winter is fast on its heels. Now is an excellent time to prepare your home for winter’s icy challenges. In this article, we’ll focus on six things you’ll need to do in the areas of plumbing, heating and electrical.
Frozen pipes are one of winter’s most common and most preventable problems.
- To prevent pipes from freezing and bursting, cover exposed outdoor pipes with insulating foam, and disconnect hoses from spigots to ensure that water does not get a chance to back up into the pipes and freeze. Next, cover spigots with foam covers to further insulate your pipes against the cold. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, turn it off and drain it to prevent damage.
- Be sure to find and fix any leaks. A leak is a pipe’s weakest spot and the place where a frozen pipe is most likely to burst.
Your HVAC unit is the key to a comfortable winter.
- Be sure to get an HVAC system tune-up to prevent untimely breakdowns and save you money on your winter energy bills without the need to lower the thermostat. Since your heating unit is a high-voltage appliance, you are best served by contracting with an HVAC technician for this service. Many companies offer annual maintenance plans that will keep your system running smoothly and efficiently all year long.
- Fall is also a good time to have your ductwork cleaned. Because indoor air quality is more of an issue during the winter when windows cannot be opened to let in fresh air, a yearly duct cleaning can be extremely beneficial to your health and the performance of your heating unit.
Ice often accumulates on power lines during a winter storm, so it is important to prepare yourself in the event of a power outage.
- In addition to having a supply of fully charged batteries for flashlights and a portable power supply for your cell phone, be sure to include the contact of an electrician who makes emergency service calls in your emergency kit. To lower your stress level during an emergency, it’s best to choose your electrician before an emergency occurs.
- Many animals look for a warm place to spend the winter during the fall. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs or the country, your attic is often the choice for squirrels and other animals to overwinter. Before the winter sets in, look for access holes gnawed into your roof’s corners and fascia boards. If, you suspect you have uninvited guests, contact animal control to remove them. Once they’re gone, ask your electrician to inspect the attic for chewed wiring and to make necessary repairs because exposed wiring can cause electrical shorts that result in house fires.
Better to be prepared
One version of Murphy’s Law says, “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” There’s never a good time for a winter home repair, and many times problems happen during the holidays or during preparation for an important family gathering. By making preparations for winter ahead of time, you can save money, reduce stress and stay comfortable. Rather than dealing with plumbing, heating, or electrical emergencies, prevent them by following our six helpful tips.