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:
- 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!