Winter care of your home and yard is one of the most important home maintenance responsibilities of Home Ownership in order to help prevent costly and often preventable expenses and damage to your home and yard.
Damage can come from a number of sources, for example, groundwater or rain seeping into the home, leaky pipes inside walls, pipes bursting from freezing and thawing and rodents taking up residence. There are several things Homeowners can do to help some prevent winter-related issues like prevent freezing and thawing pipes and winter damage to their home and yard.
7 Tips to Help Prevent Freezing/Thawing Pipes:
- If practical, insulate pipes exposed to the cold.
- Seal any leaks that are letting cold air in, especially around dryer vents and pipes and where electrical wiring enters the house.
- Locate uninsulated water supply lines in the attic, garage, basement and crawl spaces and in bathroom and kitchen cabinets adjacent to outside walls. During a cold spell, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathroom so the home’s heat can reach them. (Reminder: Put harmful household cleaners out of the reach of children.) Keep doors shut tight in the garage and outside closets and cupboards during freezing weather.
- When temperatures drop below zero, open both hot and cold faucets a trickle to relieve pressure in the pipes.
- Locate your home’s water shut-off valve; learn how to turn off the water quickly in case a pipe bursts.
- If you will be gone in freezing weather, even overnight, ask a friend or neighbor to check for broken or leaking pipes.
- Keep temperatures inside the house at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above, night and day, even when you’re gone.
3 Winter Care Suggestions for Your Home
- It is a benefit in some homes to add to existing insulation in the basement or crawl space and attic.
- Consider installing small, battery-powered individual leak alarms (flood alarms), under the refrigerator, kitchen and bathroom drain pipes, dishwasher and laundry appliances and behind toilets.
- Check to make sure your sump pump is operating properly.
5 Winter Care Suggestions for Your Yard
Although it may be cold weather season outside, your yard still needs to be maintained.
- Make sure tree and shrub branches are well away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home.
- Walk around your home and survey the roof to see if any ice dams have formed.
- As you walk around your house, check the foundation for small cracks or openings where mice or other pests can tunnel in. Winter is when they seek the warmth of your house, so seal up any possible entrances.
- While you’re outside, clear snow off gas meters and away from basement windows and your dryer exhaust vent.
- Give attention to outside pipes that are exposed to the cold, including hose bibs, pipes in outside walls, garden sprinkler lines, swimming pool pipes in addition to the pipes inside in unheated attics, basements and garages.
Be Ready for an Emergency
Blackouts and snow-ins can occur during winter months, so take a moment to prepare yourself and your family for such emergencies. Having the following items ready will help you make it through safely:
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable food items
- Phone numbers for your utility companies
- Battery backup to protect your computer and other important electronic equipment
- First-Aid Kit
- If you have an emergency generator, make sure you have gasoline stored and available to fuel it.
Consider which of these tips and suggestions may be helpful to you to prevent avoidable expenses and damage to your home and yard and then you can relax and enjoy the beauty of the winter season!