90 SE Bridgeford Blvd, Bend, OR 97702 (541) 385-0752
Fire, Preventative
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, three out of fire home fire deaths are a result of smoke alarms being absent or not working properly. 

1.) Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so that they all sound at once.
It’s important that your smoke alarms are interconnected. This will allow all the alarms to go off at once during a fire. This is important in case you are not near the source of the fire once it has ignited. In addition to being able to hear your alarms at any location in your house, interconnected smoke alarm systems usually will tell you which alarm was triggered first. This allows you to know where the fire started and where to avoid. 

2.) Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.
This tip speaks for itself. It’s important that there are smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of your home to ensure that you and your family can hear the alarms sounding no matter where you are.

3.) Test your smoke alarms to make sure that they work.
Just because you have smoke alarms in place doesn’t mean that they will always work properly. You should test your smoke alarms regularly throughout the year to make sure that they are functioning properly. A good way to do this is to have a friend or family member stand as far away from the smoke alarm as possible and click the “Test” button. 

4.) Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.
Like all technology, smoke alarms need to be replaced after a certain amount of time has passed. It is recommended that you replace your smoke alarms every 10 years to make sure that they operate the right way in the event of a fire. 

U.S. Fire Administration
BRK Electronics


When you notice that your plumbing is having problems, it can be tempting to think that you should try to fix it yourself. You may think that this could save you a lot of money, however if you do something incorrectly it could do the opposite. There’s some common signs that you could look for to see if it’s time to throw in the towel and call a plumber. 

1.) If your water is not clear or running. 

This is a huge red flag that there is something going on with your plumbing. Since there are numerous things that could be wrong, this is an indication that you should call a professional plumber. They have seen this many times, so they should be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and find a solution.

2.) If your hot water is not working.

If you notice that your hot water isn’t working, the first thing that you should do is check your water heater. If you see that it is turned on and there are no leaks, you may want to contact a plumber and see if something else is happening. They will likely want to check the water heater to see if there are any cracks or if it isn’t an adequate size for your home. 

3.) If your water pressure is low.

There are numerous factors that can be the cause of low water pressure. Since this is the case, it’s best to have a professional take a look at everything to find the source of the low water pressure. 

4.) You want to have a major installation done.

You should never attempt to install any major appliances yourself. Although it may seem like a much cheaper alternative to having a plumber come in, if you make a mistake it can lead to very expensive fixes. It is best to have a professional come in and make sure that it is done correctly to avoid any current or future problems. 

The Spruce

Fire, Preventative, Uncategorized

No one likes to think about the possibility of fire, flood, storm damage, or theft. But should such a disaster occur, you’d need to provide your insurance company with a detailed list of your belongings in order to be reimbursed for lost or damaged items. Without a home inventory prepared in advance, that list would need to be pieced together from memory. In the stressful aftermath of a disaster, could you count on your memory to recall what items have been lost and what they were worth? If not, you’ll likely get less compensation than you deserve. Now’s the time to compile that essential inventory so you can start the year with a greater sense of security that your personal property will be protected. Here, answer to all your questions about a home inventory—and helpful pointers on how to get it done.

Do You Really Need a Home Inventory?

It’s fairly easy to remember large items, such as big screen TVs and the grandfather’s clock in your living room, but could you name every necklace in your jewelry box without looking? If you had to list all your valuables after a natural disaster or property crime, it’s likely you wouldn’t remember all of them. And once you accept reimbursement from your insurance company, you can’t make additional claims. In addition to helping you file a claim that truly reflects the value of your property, a home inventory can be instrumental in obtaining more insurance coverage. If you collect original art, for instance, the value of your collection may well exceed your policy’s coverage limit for personal belongings. In that case, your home inventory can serve as evidence of the value of your collection, and you’ll be able to purchase a rider to your policy that specifically covers the art at a higher reimbursement value.

What Should a Home Inventory Include?

Just because your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy lists a maximum coverage amount for personal belongings, that doesn’t mean you’ll receive that amount after a loss. The reimbursement you receive depends on your ability to prove what items you owned, so in addition to a list of appliances, electronics, jewelry, and other valuables, you should briefly describe each individual item, including identifying the model and/or serial numbers as well as estimated value. To establish value, the inventory should include the original receipt or a copy. (If you file original receipts with your income tax papers, a copy should be kept with your home inventory.) Finally, a photo of each item should be included with the inventory as well

When Should You Compile an Inventory?

January is the ideal time to create or update your home inventory. The excitement of the holidays will be over yet you can still easily locate receipts from big-ticket purchases—many of which are made between Black Friday and Christmas. Get in the habit of addressing your home inventory needs every year at this time, and you’ll be protected in the event disaster strikes.

What Format Options Are Available?

The traditional method of creating a home inventory is to make a list of all your belongings on paper, supplementing it with photos, videos, valuations, and receipts. Because you’ll need access to the information in the event that your belongings are destroyed or stolen, if you choose to go this route, it’s wisest to store the inventory documents outside your home in a safety deposit box. A fireproof, waterproof home safe might keep the inventory intact through a natural disaster, but if the lockbox is stolen you’d be out of luck. Today’s technology offers another format for a home inventory that may be simpler to compile and safer to store. Mobile apps such as Sortly, which may be available for both iOS and Android devices, let you record each item’s photo, serial number, and purchase date, as well as add a description and a picture of the receipt. Best of all, your home inventory can be stored in a Cloud-based file, such as Dropbox. In addition to general home inventory apps, you may be able to use an insurer-specific app, depending on the company you’re insured with. Apps are available from major insurers, such as American Family and Allstate. Check with your insurance agent to see if they have a free home inventory app you can download

What’s the Best Way to Take Inventory?

The rule to remember when making a home inventory is: If it’s in your house, it has value. To make your home inventory, go room by room and detail all the belongings therein. If you’re including a paper copy, consider using a home inventory form, such as this one from Allstate. Your insurer can also provide a free form on request.

  • Start on one side of a room and systematically work your way around until you’ve documented every item in the room.
  • You need not document perishable food items and short-term supplies, such as pencils, paper, rubber bands, and other items that are used up quickly.
  • You need not document perishable food items and short-term supplies, such as pencils, paper, rubber bands, and other items that are used up quickly.
  • Photograph each wall in every room for item location purposes.
  • Take multiple photos of expensive items, such as computers, and when possible, get close-up shots of model numbers and serial numbers.
  • Open drawers and closets and document their contents.
  • Take close-up photos of receipts, or keep them with your inventory.
  • When a receipt isn’t available, document the year the item was purchased and its original cost.
  • Pace yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed. Allow one or more weekends to get through it all.

When Should a Home Inventory Be Updated?

Hold onto receipts from all major purchases you make throughout the year and update your home inventory annually, preferably around the first of the new year. Updating includes taking new room photos if you’ve moved items, in addition to recording new purchases and gifts. If the estimated value of your home inventory exceeds the maximum amount your insurance policy allows, contact your insurer and have your policy updated to reflect the additional value.

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/home-inventory/


Outdoor, Preventative

Winter in Central Oregon can be fun, but it’s also a time to be extra careful both in and out of the house. Frigid temperatures can make water freeze and expand, causing pipes to burst. Ice buildup on the roof, if unnoticed, can damage both the roof and gutters. Slick black ice between the house and your car can turn that short walk into a hazard.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent further damage to your home during these winter months.

Heat Tape

Homeowners often shut off the water supply to outside spigots in late fall, but some indoor pipes—such as those located in unheated basements, crawl spaces, or even under sinks in poorly insulated houses—can still be at risk of freezing.

Radiant Heat Mats

Icy driveways and sidewalks lead to wintertime falls—and visits to the emergency room. Fortunately, safety doesn’t have to involve spreading toxic chemicals or plant-killing salt on paved surfaces. Approved electric radiant heat mats can be used outdoors not only to save time shoveling, but also to create safer environments with less ice, fewer slips and falls, and less need to salt and condition the surface.

Roof and Gutter De-icing Cable

An accumulation of snow on the roof can pose a risk if it begins to melt and then refreezes, resulting in heavy ice buildup along the edge of the roof and in the gutter. These accumulations, known as ice dams, can damage roof shingles and lead to leaks, and cause the gutter to tear away from the house.

Frost Free Sill-cocks

Exterior faucets are notorious for freezing and breaking in winter. One solution is to turn off the water supply to the faucets and bleed the lines so they can’t freeze. A better solution would be to replace your standard outdoor faucets with frost-free sillcocks. In a frost-free sillcock, unlike a standard exterior faucet, the valve that shuts off the water sits at the end of a long pipe so it’s situated inside your house.


Fire, Preventative

Portable Heater Safety for the Chilly Months Ahead

Small space heaters are typically used when the main heating system is inadequate or when central heating is too costly to install or operate. In some cases, small space heaters can be less expensive to use if you only want to heat one room or supplement inadequate heating in one room. They can also boost the temperature of rooms used by individuals who are sensitive to cold, especially elderly persons, without overheating your entire home. Space heater capacities generally range between 10,000 Btu and 40,000 Btu per hour, and commonly run on electricity, propane, natural gas, and kerosene (see wood and pellet heating for information on wood and pellet stoves). Although most space heaters work by convection (the circulation of air in a room), some rely on radiant heating. Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and people within their line of sight, and are a more efficient choice when you will be in a room for only a few hours and can stay within the line of sight of the heater. They can also be more efficient when you will be using a room for a short period because they save energy by directly heating the occupant of the room and the occupant’s immediate surroundings rather than the whole room. Safety is a top consideration when using space heaters. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an estimated 6,000 people receive hospital emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of room heaters, mostly in non-fire situations. When buying and installing a small space heater, follow these guidelines:
  • Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
  • Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
  • Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.

Vented and Unvented Combustion Space Heaters

Space heaters are classified as vented and unvented or “vent-free.” Unvented combustion units are not recommended for use inside your home, because they introduce unwanted combustion products into the living space—including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and water vapor—and deplete air in the space. Most states have banned unvented kerosene heaters for use in the home and at least five have banned the use of unvented natural gas heaters. Vented units are designed to be permanently located next to an outside wall, so that the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or directly through the wall to the outside. Look for sealed combustion or “100% outdoor air” units, which have a duct to bring outside into the combustion chamber. Sealed combustion heaters are much safer to operate than other types of space heaters, and operate more efficiently because they do not draw in the heated air from the room and exhaust it to the outdoors. They are also less likely to backdraft and adversely affect indoor air quality. Less expensive (and less efficient) units use the room air for combustion. They do not have a sealed glass front to keep room air away from the fire and should not be confused with a sealed combustion heater. In addition to the manufacturer’s installation and operating instructions, you should follow these general safety guidelines for operating any combustion space heater:
  • For liquid-fueled heaters, use only the approved fuel. Never use gasoline! Follow the manufacturer’s fueling instructions. Never fill a heater that is still hot. Do not overfill the heater — you must allow for the expansion of the liquid. Only use approved containers clearly marked for that particular fuel, and store them outdoors.
  • Have vented space heaters professionally inspected every year. If the heater is not vented properly, not vented at all, or if the vent is blocked, separated, rusted, or corroded, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can enter the home causing sickness and death. CO also can be produced if the heater is not properly set up and adjusted for the type of gas used and the altitude at which it is installed.

Electric Space Heaters

Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution. For convection (non-radiant) space heaters, the best types incorporate a heat transfer liquid, such as oil, that is heated by the electric element. The heat transfer fluid provides some heat storage, allowing the heater to cycle less and to provide a more constant heat source. When buying and installing an electric space heater, you should follow these general safety guidelines:
  • Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords.
  • Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.
If you have any questions about Fire Safety, feel free to contact Spectrum Building & Restoration at 541-385-0752.

Preventative, Renovations

What Is Insulating Paint?

Demystifying Insulating Paint: All You Need to Know

Photo: insuladd.com

The notion of a paint to reduce heat transfer first arose at NASA in the hope of protecting the space shuttle from the extreme heat generated by reentry into the atmosphere. NASA scientists developed an additive that contained tiny glass spheres called “microspheres,” epoxy particles, and heat-resistant chemicals. The mixture was sprayed on the shuttle at the same time it was painted to form a protective coating. NASA later partnered with a company called Tech Traders and, expanding on the original insulating technology, to develop an insulating powdered paint additive, known as Insuladd, which contains microscopic ceramic spheres said to form a “radiant heat barrier” when mixed with regular interior or exterior house paint. Today, Tech Traders owns and sells Insuladd. Other manufacturers have since begun producing their own brands of insulating paint that contain either ceramic or glass microspheres—either as an additive or as a premixed paint product—both of which are marketed to homeowners for interior and exterior use. In addition to Insuladd, brands include Hy-Tech and Therma-Guard. Manufacturers advertise insulated paint as being able to reduce the transfer of both hot and cold temperatures.

Does It Work?

While insulating paint purports to work as a result of the microspheres forming a thin, heat-resistant bond, it relies on relatively new science and, to-date, independent large-scale testing is lacking. There has been a handful of small tests, including one conducted by Cold Climate Housing Research Center, which concluded that in cold climates, the insulating paint tested would not “be effective in reducing energy costs for residential homes.” The Florida Solar Energy Center conducted tests on both standard and insulating paints and concluded that insulating paint had “no significant advantage over ordinary paints.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down on at least one company for misrepresenting its paint as being equal to seven inches of fiberglass insulation. As of yet, no R-value has been determined for insulating paint. On the flip side, EnergyIdeas Clearinghouse, a non-profit publication, in conjunction with Washington State University and the Northwest Energy Alliance, reported that Insuladd paint reduced heat gain by “approximately 20 percent when fully exposed to the sun.” That means the paint could conceivably produce an energy benefit if painted on the exterior side of a house that faced the hot summer sun. The report also stated that when painted on interior walls, however, “reductions in heat loss and gain are negligible.” When the goal is to reduce the amount of heat transfer produced by the sun, virtually any white or light colored paint will perform better than a dark paint on exterior house walls because light-color paint reflects heat away rather than absorbing it. But more importantly, so far there is no paint that will take the place of good insulating practices. Most local building codes require a specific amount of insulation, measured in R-values, for walls and ceilings. Your best bet is to follow a well-designed plan for keeping energy costs down, which includes installing standard insulation materials, such as fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose filaments, in addition to installing energy-efficient windows and doors. Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/insulating-paint/  

Preventative, Restoring

Last week we shared some home maintenance repairs that only take a few minutes to fix. Part 1 focused on 7 items that are easy fixes for homeowners and eager to-it-yourself’ers to tackle. Here are another 7 easy fixes that you can take care of yourself and save money instead of hiring the job out.

how to fix squeaky door hinges

Squeaky Doors

Doors that creak and moan when they’re opened and closed don’t hurt anything, but they sure can be annoying. Silence the squeak with lubricating spray, such as WD-40. Use the straw that comes with the can to direct the spray to the top crease in the hinge. Use the lubricant sparingly—a tiny bit goes a long way. It’s a good idea to hold a rag or paper towel behind the hinge as you spray to protect the door or jamb from overspray. Cabinet Doors Banging

Banging Cabinet Doors

If your cabinet doors bang loudly every time you shut them, the problem can be solved instantly by installing bumpers, such as GorillaGrit Cabinet Door Bumpers. Clean the cabinet door to remove gunk or residue, and then position two bumpers on its inside edge, one at about ½-inch from the bottom and another at the same distance from the top. Make sure you attach the peel-and-stick bumpers where the door makes contact with the cabinet base to muffle the sound of the cabinets closing. how to get rid of hard water stains

Unsightly Stains

Hard water can wreak havoc on tubs, showers, and sinks, leaving dark and dingy orange-brown stains that don’t come off with regular household cleaners. If you don’t relish using caustic cleaning products, or spending hours scrubbing the stains away, here’s a quicker fix. Mix lemon juice and cream of tartar (available in your grocer’s spice aisle) to form a paste, and then apply the paste directly to the stains. Leave the mixture on the stain for an hour and then rinse away to reveal a sparkling clean fixture. how to stop drafts around doors

Drafty Doors

An exterior door that doesn’t seal tightly when closed lets in cold drafts, which can result in increased heating bills. Stopping drafts is a simple fix that requires removing the old weatherstripping (just pull and scrape it off) and then installing new peel-and-stick weatherstripping. Opt for a weatherstripping kit, such as the WeatherGuard Door Insulating Kit that comes with a bottom door seal in addition to regular weatherstripping for an airtight seal. sticking door lock

Sticky Door Locks

Do you have to jiggle, coax, or turn the key forcefully to unlock your door? Corrosion and dirt buildup can make it difficult to use a key in a door lock—but if you’re experiencing problems, wait before you run out to replace a tricky lock. Try rubbing the cuts on the key with the lead of a graphite pencil, or squirt a little powdered graphite, such as Panef L-300 Powered Graphite into the opening in the lock. The graphite works to lubricate the tumblers in the lock so your key will turn with ease. sticky wooden drawers

Sticky Wooden Drawers

Over time, wooden drawers can begin to stick, making it difficult to open and close them, but you don’t have to live with sticky drawer syndrome. To help the drawer slide smoothly again, remove it from the cabinet and turn it over so you have access to the underside. Rub a bar of paraffin (found in your grocer’s canning aisle) along the both bottom edges of the drawer. The paraffin will lubricate the drawer and help it slide smoothly. mildew in washer

Moldy Washer

If your clothes come out of the washer smelling musty instead of clean, you probably have a bit of mildew in your washer. Fortunately, banishing the mildew is a quick and simple project. Put one cup of baking soda in the washer, and run one empty load on the hottest water setting. The baking soda will clean and remove all mildew growth so you can have fresh-smelling laundry again.

Custom Home Building, Preventative

Keeping your home in top-notch condition doesn’t mean spending all your free time on maintenance chores; some upkeep and repair projects can be done quickly and without the help (and expense) of a pro. If you have just a few minutes here and there, you can perform the following fast fixes without taking time away from your daily activities. Stop procrastinating and start getting your home shipshape!

Worn Fridge Seals

fridge door seal not sticking
If the magnetic seals on your refrigerator door aren’t sealing tightly, air can leak into the fridge, which forces the appliance to work overtime and shortens its useful life. Fortunately, replacing the seals is a super-quick DIY project. You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the metal strip that holds the old seal in place (look under the lip of the seal). Replacement seals can then be attached in the reverse manner. Contact your appliance manufacturer for details on how to repair faulty refrigerator seals. how to fix sticky vinyl windows

Sticking Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are affordable, long-lasting, and great at keeping out cold drafts. One downside of vinyl windows, however, is that over time dirt and grime can accumulate in the window tracks, which can make it difficult to open and close the windows. Banish the gunk and lubricate the window tracks with a little dry-type silicone spray, such as 3M Silicone Spray. Point and spray the crevice between the window and the jamb, then open the window and wipe the inside of the track with a clean cloth.   loose shower head holder

Wobbly Shower Head Woes

A shower head can begin to wobble when the pipe in the wall works loose over time—but stabilizing the pipe and steadying the shower head is a snap! Slide the shower head trim ring away from the wall (you may need a screwdriver) to reveal the base of the pipe and the hole beneath. Spray a little bit of expanding foam, such as GREAT STUFF Foam Sealant into the hole (not into the pipe), using the straw that comes with the can. The foam will swell and harden around the exterior of the pipe, stabilizing it. Slip the trim ring back into place and enjoy your new firm shower head. quick fix for squeaky hardwood floors

Squeaky Wood Floors

When wood rubs against wood it squeaks, sometimes quite loudly. If you have hardwood floors, you probably have one or two areas that always squeak when you walk on them. You can silence a noisy wood floor with a little bit of cornstarch. Just sprinkle it over an area that creaks, and then use a broom to sweep it into the cracks between the boards. The cornstarch will act as a dry lubricant between the wood surfaces to quiet the creaking. Ceiling Stains

Ugly Ceiling Stains

A leaky roof or a dripping pipe can run down and stain the ceiling below, leaving a dirty yellow mark that makes the whole room look dilapidated. If you’re not in the mood to repaint your entire ceiling, there’s a great way you can remove (or at least noticeably fade) the stain. Repair the leak first, and then fill a spray bottle with household bleach and water, using one-part bleach to five parts water. Spray the stain thoroughly with the solution. Within hours, the stain will fade noticeably—or even completely. low water pressure in faucet

Reduced Faucet Flow

Hard water deposits and little bits of debris can clog faucets and affect water flow. Good news, you don’t have to replace the faucet, but a little cleaning is in order. On the end of the faucet is a tiny aerator screen where debris can become trapped. When the screen is full of debris, it slows the water flow or forces it to spray out to one side. The aerator screen can be removed by twisting it to the left. Soak the screen in white vinegar to dissolve hard water deposits overnight and then reattach it.
wallpaper seams showing

Loose Wallpaper Seams

Wallpaper that wasn’t glued properly during installation has a tendency to come loose at the seams, making the entire wall look shabby, but it takes only a minute to fix. Soften loose paper by spraying the area with hot water, and then squeeze a little seam adhesive, such as Red Devil Wallpaper Repair Adhesive beneath the loose section. Press the paper firmly back into place, and then wipe away any excess with a damp cloth

Preventative, Water

Preparing your Home for Winter 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Winter! It’s never too early to start thinking about the winter months and how you can be prepared in the event that we have a snowfall that rivals 1017. A lot of customers were caught off-guard for the amount of snowfall we had here in Central Oregon. Here are a few preparation tips you can use to be ready.

1. Invest in Weather Stripping:

Weather stripping is a good way to help seal warm air in and cold air out of your home and is available in almost any hardware stores, weather stripping installs quickly around windows and doors. Before winter arrives, check the following parts of your home for leaks or drafts:
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Vents and fans
  • Plumbing areas
  • Air conditioners
  • Mail chutes
  • Electrical and gas lines

2. Clean your Gutters:

Clear gutters help drain water away from your roof and your house. If they’re clogged however, especially in colder months, they’re more apt to freeze, causing additional blockages. Blocked gutters can allow melting ice and snow to seep into your roof, or flood your home’s foundation, causing water damage both on the exterior and interior of your home. If it’s safe to do so, take some time before winter hits and clear out your gutters, or work with a trusted roofing professional to have your gutters cleaned.

3. Evaluate your roof to prevent ice dams

While a roofing professional is cleaning the gutters, see if he or she can evaluate your roof for ice dams too. In cold weather, heat escaping your home can melt and refreeze ice and snow on your roof, leading to ice dams. These block off drains, and let water and ice continually build up on your roof – and possibly under it – weakening your roof and putting your home at risk. To help prevent ice dams:
  • Insulate your attic – Your attic should have plenty of insulation to prevent too much heat transfer from your living areas to the attic. Check parts of the attic that may not be well insulated, like:
    • Pipes and vents
    • Chimney systems
    • Light fixtures
  • Ventilate your attic – If your attic wasn’t built with a ventilation system, contact a trusted professional or contractor about ventilating your attic before winter. Proper ventilation allows cold air into the attic, while the insulation seals heat in your living areas. This can help prevent warm air from melting ice on the roof, leading to possible damage.

4. Buy a roof rake to keep snow from building up

An average roof can handle up to four feet of fresh snow before it’s stressed. However, as snow packs down from multiple storms, could cause a roof collapse! If you expect a lot of snow this winter, invest in a roof rake. It can help you easily remove the snow and protect your home during those blizzard months.

5. Prune trees around the house

If there are long tree branches hanging near your house, your roof, or your gutters, prune them before it gets too cold. Branches broken from heavy snow and ice can cause all kinds of damage to your home. A few hours with the pruner now could save you thousands of dollars in damages later this winter.

6. Protect pipes from freezing

  • Don’t turn the heat down too much when you’re out of the house. You may not be there to enjoy it, but your pipes need the heat to prevent freezing.
  • Let faucets drip during serious cold snaps to provide relief for your pipes.
  • Give your home a once over for any exposed or vulnerable piping, and wrap them with insulation. Hardware stores usually carry foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes, which are easy to install. Caulk up cracks or holes in your walls to keep cold air away from pipes. This might not be practical for the average homeowner, so speak to a trusted contractor.
  • If your pipes do freeze, and water stops flowing from faucets, call a plumber immediately!