Winter brings many hazards. Your driveway becomes a slip and slide, and your commute becomes longer and slower as seasonal accidents rise. Your home faces additional risks, too, and in order to protect yourself and your property as the temperatures drop, you need to plan ahead. Preparation saves you the cost of water mitigation from frozen pipes and potential fire damages. Preparing your home for winter weather revolves around two key practices. You should install extra insulation, and you should inspect and clean your stove, fireplace, and chimney.
Winter drives up heating bills, and the worst damage from winter-related accidents typically comes from frozen pipes. Home owners consider a house’s existing insulation at the time of purchase, but usually location, space, and utilities trump any worries about winter weather. Energy efficiency is usually a secondary selling point. Once cold weather arrives and heating bills spike, however, insulation becomes an immediate concern. Properly insulating your home protects your property, your health, and your savings.
Windows let in light but also allow heat to escape from your home. Even newer windows can’t provide the kind of insulation walls offer. Home improvement stores sell clear insulation sheets for windows. It looks a lot like plastic wrap, and if applied properly, it won’t obscure your view. This simple step prevents warm air from leaking through window seals and the thin places around the window’s frame. Not all insulation looks like fluff, although traditional insulation helps other parts of your home.
If you have an unfinished attic, try some cheap, heavy insulation from your local home improvement store. Insulation comes in many shapes and sizes, though some of the best comes as a roll that you can easily apply and remove from your attic floor.
Your pipes need insulation, too. Pay special attention to exposed pipes, especially those near outer walls or in unheated parts of your home, such as basements and garages. For more information on how to protect against water damage from frozen pipes, check out our article on winter water damage.
Fireplace and Stove Maintenance
While hiring water mitigation services isn’t the happiest holiday experience, it’s still better than making a call to the fire department. Check your fireplace, chimney, and any heating stove annually, especially if you don’t use them in the summer. Cleaning your stove, fireplace, and chimney seems like a hassle, but it is far less expensive and frustrating than a house fire. Burning cleaning logs from time to time helps keep your chimney clear, but it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your fireplace, stove, and chimney at least once a year.
Keeping your home safe and comfortable in the winter requires a little foresight. Any preventative investment pays you back in the long term, though. A little extra insulation prevents the cost of water mitigation services after a flood. Periodically cleaning and inspecting any source of open flame prevents disasters. You may not be able to tell the future, but meeting winter weather with a prepared home ensures you’re a step ahead of problems.