Winter Maintenance Quick Tips
Weather you like it or not (bad pun?), you can always count on a few big winter storms here in Utah each year. As we speak we're having one of the biggest storms of the year. Multiple school districts across Utah and Tooele county have been closed because of it. So what better time to talk about your homes winter maintenance checklist? Below we'll discuss a few things you can do to prepare your home for the brisk winter weather.
Prevent Pipes From Freezing
You ever notice when you put a water bottle in the freezer it expands once it's frozen? Same thing happens with your pipes. When water freezes it expands, which can cause your pipes to burst. To help prevent busted pipes, insulate pipes near windows, doors and in unheated areas of your home. You'll also want to disconnect your garden hose from your outside faucet. Lastly, don't set your thermostat any lower than 60 degrees. While the temperature might seem fine inside your walls, the spaces within your walls where the pipes reside can get much colder. Setting your thermostat at or above 60 degrees will ensure the areas around your pipes won't get too cold.
Prepare for a Storm
Winter storms can cause electrical equipment to fail when snow and ice build up on power lines and tree limbs. The heavy snow can cause wires to break, or can accumulate on tree limbs, causing them to break and fall into power lines. You should always be prepared with some sort of survival kit. That kit can include items such as bottled water, flashlights, first-aid supplies, batteries, non-perishable foods, blankets, and a power bank to charge your smartphone.
Protect your entryways
Snow, ice and mud can damage your entryway flooring. Use floor mats both inside and outside your door, as well as boot trays to store wet/muddy boots. Keeping the tray or bin inside will help keep your boots warm for when you have to embark back out into the snow. Make sure you also have a good place to dry wet jackets, hats and snow gloves.
Check Drafty Doors & Windows
Not only can drafty doors or windows significantly cool your home, they also cause your furnace to work harder, costing you more on heating during the winter. For more tips on how to stay warm and save money, check out our blog post 9 Heating Tips To Stay Warm And Save Money. A quick tip, you can buy draft guards you can slide beneath or place at the foot of your doors and windows to help block cold drafts from entering your home.
Prevent Ice Dams From Forming
Ice dams can not only cool your home, but they're also extremely dangerous. You can prevent ice dams from forming by raking the snow off your roof or installing heat cables.
Consider a Generator
During a big winter storm, a generator can help save you a lot of headache. A generator can help keep some lights on and keep the heat running during longer power outages. You can also use it to keep your refrigerator running to prevent losing hundreds of dollars of wasted food. Depending on your needs, both portable and standby generators are available.
Ditch The Salt, Grab The Shovel
If you have a concrete driveway, never use salt. Salt can cause corrosion to the rebar underneath the surface, causing it to crumble and crack. It can also cause discoloration depending on the salt used. Instead, opt for a shovel or snow blower. Sure it's a little more work, but your driveway will thank you for it. Make sure either your shovel or snowblower are in quick reach when a storm is approaching. If you're using a snowblower, change your oil and replace the spark plug if needed.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The danger of carbon monoxide rises during the winter months. You have more guests over during the holiday season, ovens and stoves are used more frequently, the water heater is trying to keep up with the demand, the fireplace is burning and the furnace is fighting to combat the cold. All of these things will cause a rise in carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas so it's impossible to detect without the right equipment. Many modern fire alarms come installed with carbon monoxide detectors, there's also ones, like the one pictured above, that you can easily plug into a wall outlet.
For more tips and to save money, check out our post 9 Heating Tips To Stay Warm And Save Money.