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Prepping Your Home for a Long Winter

By Paul Denikin

In your most recent times walking to work, leaving the gym, attending a football game, or any other outdoor activities you may have noticed something; It’s getting cold. No, your senses do not deceive you. Once again, the warmth of a fun summer is slowly beginning to wane only to be replaced with the brisk autumn and again with the winter.

Owning your own home during the summer can come with its own hassles. Threats of fires, floods, winds, and mud are all pretty notable happenings that people prepare for. Before the arrival of summer, it is likely most of your time was spent pulling weeds, waxing hardwood, and checking the air conditioner endlessly for wear and tear.

Now that the summer is ending, that same preparation is necessary to protect your home. Winter-related damage can be one of the costliest forms of damage a single home will endure. The Northeast and Midwestern U.S. shells out billions in insurance payments attempting to fix and prevent such calamity.

In order to jump out in front of the storm, make sure to look inside and out.

Indoors

To start your home checklist right, you should definitely start with your home heating system (water & air). Most of the time spent in the fall/winter is indoors so a properly heated home will be essential for you and your family. Turn your system on first and run it for at least 15 minutes. If you encounter any odd smells or loud noises, you may wish to call a heating specialist. If you have a furnace or chimney system, make sure it is well aerated. Proper maintenance on a chimney can prevent a serious fire from happening in your home.

Secondly, over two-billion dollars is lost annually as well as close to a thousand lost lives are due to home fires during the winter season. Fires started within the house as well as unseen spreads of carbon monoxide poisoning become far more prevalent during the winter months. In the fall, conduct checks on your alarm system to see if they’re in working order. These devices are truly life-saving and should be seen year-round. If yours makes sporadic beeps or shines a red light, it may need maintenance or a full change.

Outdoors

In both your back and front yard, large trees can be a huge risk. Trees that have overgrown limbs during the summer have a propensity to collapse under heavy snow. Collapsing limbs can easily fall through your roof or your neighbors. Before the first snow, walk the yards. Check all trees for any suspect branches and chop them (especially evergreens). Also, cover any outdoor furniture that you can’t bring indoors. Ice tends to break any metal objects left outside. To take extra precautions, use putty (or epoxy) to patch breaks in metal, wood and concrete. This will help prevent huge breakages in your favorite furniture and floors.

If you have a pool, it may be within your best interest to drain it before winter. Whether it’s because of chemical imbalances, or repairing it, completely draining a pool can sometimes be required. To do this, first determine the location of the hydrostatic valve. The valve is usually found at the bottom with the main drain. Rent what is known as a “sump-pump,” and connect the sump-pump’s hose to the drain inside the pool. The other hose end should be released at your nearest sewer drain.

Drained or not, you should also place a pool safety cover atop the crown of the pool when finished. Pool accidents are not only summer occurrences, but a year-round possibility. When you buy one, tie it snug around the full perimeter of the pool. This is surefire way no children (or clumsy adults) experience a horrible accident around the water.

Winter brings many potential dangers and damages to your home, so the more precautions you take now, the better off your home will be once the temperatures start to rise again.

 

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