Top 5 Winter Home Prep Tips

Have you ever noticed your car’s windshield wipers never break on sunny days? Hmmm….
The same seems to be true with our homes. Rarely do the pipes burst in June, I’m pretty certain ice dams in the gutters never occur in July, and the furnace doesn’t break down in August! Yet those things happen when it’s cold outside and when we need them most!
With the winter months approaching, there are several things we can do to prevent expensive and untimely repairs in the cold weather.

Your furnace. I don’t know about you but I hate waking up to a freezing house! Waking up at 2am only to see my breath in the air is not my idea of fun. The number one thing on the “Gotta Have It” list in Michigan is a functioning furnace. By calling a heating and cooling technician now, you may be able to avoid that scenario by getting a furnace check up before it gets cold. Usually for less than $100 you can have your furnace inspected, cleaned and readied for the cold winter season. Another reason for the inspection is to identify any risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon Monoxide is an odorless gas that can be deadly.  We recommend you have carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of the home, especially near your furnace.

Have a fireplace? When was the last time you had your chimney inspected / cleaned? You could be letting heat go right up the chimney this winter if the flue in your fireplace chimney is not closed or functioning properly. As long as you’re having your furnace inspected ask the heating professional about your chimney as well.

Clean out the gutters. Ok you may have heard this one before but how many know why? Leaves and debris trapped in your gutters don’t allow water to properly drain.  This causes the moisture to back up and freeze in the gutters. The moisture trapped over the winter can seep into the wood at the roofline, back up beneath your shingles ultimately damaging the roof and the wood. Ultimately the moisture seeps into the walls and damages them from the inside out. Before you know it you’ve got huge problems. If this is considered a maintenance problem it may not be covered by insurance.  Best plan? Clean out the gutters and any debris on a regular basis.

Turn off and drain outside faucets. Water in an outside faucet line will surely freeze, and then you have the risk of a pipe bursting in that line. The best plan is to shut off the water to the faucet from the inside, and then drain the pipe by opening the faucet. No water inside will greatly reduce the risk of a burst pipe!

Bursting pipes. It’s one of the coldest nights of the year. You wake to the sound of water spraying from somewhere. Did I leave a faucet on? Is the shower running? You get up to discover a pipe has burst and water is 2” deep in your house. You can prevent this several different ways. 1) Look for pipes that are close to your exterior walls. These are the pipes most likely to be affected. You can wrap them with pipe insulation that will protect them from the cold. 2) Leave cabinet doors open to let extra heat into the area.  This will let the heat circulate around the pipes and help prevent freezing on those ultra cold nights. 3) Leave the water of the at risk faucets running on a low stream. Although it wastes some water, it keeps the water moving through the pipes and prevents freezing.

We hope these simple tips are helpful to you. As always if you have questions feel free to call us at 734.454.4058 and we’ll be glad to help.
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