Winter’s Coming Quick! Are You Prepared?
The wind is starting to blow in the Colorado High Country! Is your Front Range home ready for winter? Here’s some important things you should be thinking about before the snow starts flying for real, and lower outdoor temperatures predominate:
Is Your Home Winterized?
Check off the following indoor and outdoor items from your winter home prep list:
Insulation: Does your attic need more insulation? How about the exterior walls, floor, or crawlspace? If you’re not sure, contact a reputable local insulation contractor for an inspection. Many companies provide this service for free, in the hope that they’ll be asked to provide a quote for new work.
Weather Stripping: Do your exterior doors or windows leak air when it gets breezy? If so, a visit to your local home improvement store could prove educational and provide products like door sweeps, door jamb weather strip, and caulking that you or a trusted handyman can use to eliminate costly heat leaks.
Roof and Gutters: Make sure your roof and gutters are clear of leaves, branches, and other debris that could clog proper drainage, or become an unexpected fire hazard. Have your roof inspected to make sure that small leaks or damage haven’t developed over the warmer months. Consider purchasing a handy ‘roof rake’ for manual removal of bothersome snow mounded on accessible lower areas of your roof. For more extreme snow load and ice-dam situations, speak with our electrical department about the safety and convenience afforded by a professional heat tape installationfor lower roof, gutter and downspout problem areas around your home.
Plumbing: Make sure that outdoor plumbing such as sprinklers are drained, garden hoses are stored, and water pipes located in at-risk areas in your home are properly shielded from freezing outside air, with sufficient indoor heat nearby to keep them safe. Review the location of your home’s main water shutoff valve with all family members, in case of a plumbing freeze and the need to stop an impending indoor flood.
Annual Heating Service: Be sure that your furnace, boiler, or other home heating systems have been professionally serviced at some point during the heating season. If you have a central forced air furnace, it is crucial that you have a clean filter in the furnace, and that you setup a schedule for replacing it regularly during the heating season. Your best source of advice for how frequently this should be done is your trusted local heating contractor.
Chimney Sweeping: Families that have a wood stove or fireplace should have the stovepipe or chimney inspected and ‘swept’ at least once per year. Creosote buildup in your stove pipe or chimney could create dangerous blockage, back drafting, or even chimney fire conditions. Review your gas or wood stove (or fireplace) owner’s manual to refresh yourself on all operation and safety procedures.
Safety Warning Devices: Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be installed around your home in several critical locations such as the kitchen, living room, mechanical area, and bedrooms. Check and replace batteries regularly, and follow all manufacturer recommendations for battery replacement and location of the detectors. You may choose to have a professionalcome in to assess your situation and assist by installing additional safety devices.
Emergency Backup Heat: If your home has only one source of heat, consider purchasing some backup space heaters (typically electric), in case your primary home heating system should suffer an unexpected problem.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
For wintertime emergency preparedness, have plenty of extra food in stock at home. Make sure you have operable flashlights and extra batteries. Keep your cell phone fully charged, and know where the charger is located. Have snow shovels that are in good shape easily accessible, and consider having a bag of ice-melt product handy to treat slippery problem areas that may develop outdoors. If you have an infant or young child, stock some extra ‘kid supplies,’ just in case.
If you own a snow blower, get it serviced and ready to go. In addition, repair any damaged sidewalks, decking, or handrails that could contribute to an unsafe situation walking around outside in the snow and ice. If you own a backup generator, perform all annual testing and maintenance procedures prescribed by the manufacturer. Speak with your trusted auto mechanic to find out if your car, truck, SUV or van is all set for the changing season.
Like it or not, wintertime is coming quick. Make sure you’ve done all that you can to ensure your family’s safety, comfort, and convenience in the coming months. In the Boulder and Denver, Colorado area, contact Save Home Heat Company for expert advice and professional help in preparing your heating, hot water, plumbing, and electrical systems for the winter!