Winter Storm Home Maintenance

Preparing your home for winter storms is key to ensuring you have heat and water during the colder months. This guide will help you understand the necessary steps for safeguarding your home against the harsh winter elements.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

To prevent the inconvenience and potential damage of frozen pipes, consider these steps:

  • Maintain a Consistent Thermostat Setting: Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature during both day and night. It is recommended that you never set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing (Fox 29 News).
  • Open Cabinet Doors: Allow heat to circulate around plumbing by opening the cabinet doors beneath sinks. This is particularly important for pipes in unheated areas of your home.
  • Disconnect Outdoor Hoses and Faucets: Remove garden hoses, turn off outdoor faucets, and cover them to protect from freezing temperatures. AAA advises this as a critical step to prevent pipes from freezing (Fox 29 News).
  • Let Faucets Drip: In very cold weather, let your faucets drip slightly to keep water flowing and prevent freezing.
  • Know Your Water Shutoff Valve: In case a pipe does burst, knowing how to quickly turn off your home’s main water supply can reduce potential water damage (Fox 29 News).

For more winter storm plumbing tips, check our guide on winter storm plumbing tips.

Winterizing Windows and Doors

Drafty windows and doors can significantly increase your heating bills and make your home less comfortable. To winterize these areas:

  • Seal Air Leaks: Check for drafts and apply weather-stripping or caulking to seal any gaps.
  • Insulate Windows: Use insulating film or heavy curtains to add an extra layer of protection against the cold.
  • Install Door Sweeps: Prevent cold air from entering under doors by installing door sweeps.
  • Use Winterizing Solutions: Products specifically designed for winterizing can offer additional insulation benefits.

Winter Home Preparation Checklist

A comprehensive checklist is essential for winter storm home maintenance. Here’s a quick list to ensure your home is ready:

  • [ ] Insulate pipes and allow for a slow drip during extreme cold
  • [ ] Check and replace weather-stripping on windows and doors
  • [ ] Disconnect and store outdoor hoses; shut off external water sources
  • [ ] Keep the thermostat at a consistent temperature
  • [ ] Know the location and operation of the main water shutoff valve
  • [ ] Have heating systems inspected and serviced

For a more detailed checklist and additional information on what to do during a winter storm, refer to our winter storm emergency checklist. Stay informed with the latest winter storm preparedness tips and learn how to stay safe during a winter storm to protect your home and loved ones.

Heating System Maintenance

With winter storms bringing frigid temperatures, maintaining your home’s heating system becomes crucial for comfort and safety. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your heating system in top condition during the colder months.

Furnace Filter Replacement

Replacing the air filters in your heating system is a simple yet essential task. During winter, when your heating system is working overtime, filters can clog faster due to increased use. Williams Comfort Air suggests inspecting your furnace filter monthly, as some may need to be replaced more frequently than the usual 1-12 month period, depending on the filter type. Tyler’s Heating and Cooling recommends a monthly replacement to maintain efficiency and prevent health issues due to airborne debris. Meanwhile, Allstate advises a three-month replacement schedule, with annual professional cleaning and inspection.

Thermostat Inspection

Your thermostat is the control center for your home’s temperature. Ensure it is accurately gauging the indoor climate and responding appropriately. Check the batteries if it’s battery-operated and consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat for better energy efficiency and convenience. This small device plays a big role in your winter storm home maintenance, as it ensures your heating system responds correctly to your needs.

Air Leak Sealing

Sealing air leaks is a key step in optimizing your home’s warmth and efficiency. Drafts around windows and doors can significantly increase your heating bill and make your home feel colder. To combat this, apply caulk around window trim and install weatherstripping to create a tight seal. Allstate also suggests creating a draft blocker for doors. These measures not only keep the warm air in but also contribute to your overall winter storm preparedness.

Regular maintenance of your heating system is not just about comfort—it’s about safety. By following these steps, you ensure your home remains a warm haven during winter storms. And don’t forget to check out our comprehensive winter storm emergency checklist for more ways to keep your home and loved ones safe during these challenging weather conditions.

Roof Protection in Winter

As winter storms approach, it’s critical to ensure your roof is prepared to handle the onslaught of snow and ice. Roof protection is a key element of winter storm home maintenance to prevent costly damage and maintain a safe environment for you and your family.

Snow and Ice Damage Risks

The weight of snow and ice accumulation can pose significant risks to the structural integrity of your roof. Heavy snowfall, particularly more than 20 cm (8 in) thick, needs to be removed to prevent potential collapse or long-term damage. In 2019, CBC reported an increase in insurance claims from homeowners across northern Ontario related to this very issue.

Snow Depth (cm) Action Recommended
20+ cm Snow removal from the roof

Ice Dam Prevention

Ice dams form when heat from your attic causes snow on your roof to melt. The water then refreezes at the roof’s edge, creating a dam that prevents proper drainage and can lead to leaks. To prevent this, ensure you have adequate insulation and ventilation in your attic. This not only helps avoid ice dams but also helps regulate your home’s temperature and reduce energy costs (ReRoof America).

Roof Inspection and Maintenance

A thorough roof inspection and maintenance routine before winter sets in can help identify potential issues. A professional roofing company can assess your roof’s condition and recommend necessary repairs or maintenance. Here are some preventative measures to consider:

  • Ensure gutters are clean for proper drainage.
  • Trim overhanging branches to prevent damage from falling limbs.
  • Seal any air leaks to prevent heat loss.
  • Install an ice and water shield to protect against ice damming.

If you’re not comfortable removing snow from the roof yourself, consider hiring a contractor. Ensure you have a written contract outlining the scope of work and responsibilities. For comprehensive guidance on what to do during a winter storm, including protecting your roof, visit our winter storm preparedness tips.

Taking these steps will help you safeguard your home against the harsh winter elements and enjoy a cozy, secure season. For more information on how to protect the rest of your house during a winter storm, explore our winter storm emergency checklist and winter storm safety precautions. And remember, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against a winter storm, so give it the attention it needs to keep you warm and dry.

Additional Winter Home Tips

Beyond the basics of winter storm home maintenance, there are additional measures you can take to ensure your safety and comfort during the cold season. Here are some essential tips that cover carbon monoxide safety, outdoor furniture care, and seeking professional services for your home.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled in large quantities. With the increased use of heating appliances during winter months, the risk of CO buildup in your home also rises. It’s imperative to install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your house. These devices provide an early warning by alerting you if there’s too much carbon monoxide accumulating. Detectors typically range in price from $20 to $40 and are available at various retailers. Be sure to test and replace the batteries in your CO detectors regularly, and if you need more information on winter storm safety precautions, check out our winter storm safety precautions guide.

Location Number of CO Detectors
Each floor At least 1

Outdoor Furniture Storage

Before the onset of winter storms, it’s crucial to protect your outdoor furniture from the harsh elements. Store any removable cushions, umbrellas, and lightweight furniture in a dry, sheltered area to prevent damage from snow and ice. For heavier pieces that cannot be moved indoors, consider using weatherproof covers to shield them from moisture and freezing temperatures. Proper storage will not only extend the life of your outdoor furnishings but also help maintain your property’s aesthetic appeal during the winter months. For tips on how to keep your home and belongings safe during a winter storm, visit our how to stay safe during a winter storm page.

Professional Maintenance Services

Winter weather can be tough on your home, and sometimes it’s best to call in the experts. A pre-winter maintenance check by a certified technician is crucial to ensure that your heating system is clean, fueled, and in good working order (Tyler’s Heating and Cooling). This can help prevent expensive repairs down the line and ensure your family’s safety. Furnaces, boilers, and radiators should be serviced annually, with furnaces and boilers checked in the fall and heat pumps serviced twice a year (Williams Comfort Air). For repairs and general maintenance tasks, companies like Mr. Handyman can assist with sealing drafty windows, performing repairs, and maintaining your home during winter.

Service Recommended Service Frequency
Furnace Once a year (fall)
Boiler Once a year (fall)
Heat Pump (Heating) Once a year (fall)
Heat Pump (Cooling) Once a year (spring)

For homeowners looking to ensure their homes are prepared for winter storms, consider following our comprehensive winter storm preparedness tips and using our winter storm emergency checklist to cover all your bases. Remember, investing in professional maintenance services can save you time and money by preventing emergencies and ensuring that your home runs smoothly throughout the season.

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