Prepping Your Home for Winter
Username of writer: Jedikat
The winter months affect different places differently. Living in southern California most of my life we experience warm weather with the winter months bringing cooler weather and a little rain but little else. There are still things to do for your home in climates such as these, but even more so in those areas that experience more extreme temperatures. My time living up North where it snows was always fun, but it requires more work for your home. That work is mandatory if you want your home to be safe, and reliable for years to come. There are some things you need to look into as a home owner, before, after and during the colder months in order to keep your home its best, and to keep your family safe.
The Problem of Heat
Since the weather cools down, enough to freeze in some places it will likely get cold inside as well. Even with insulation in your walls it won’t be enough to completely keep the cold out. There are options for heating your home depending on your area and they include either a fire place or a heater.
A fire place typically heats one room of the home, but depending on how the house is laid out there could be more than one fireplace of ventilation to move the heat through the house. You will need to start stockpiling wood around August so that you have enough supply to last through the cold months when it could be scarce to find. Be sure to have a grate in front of your fireplace to prevent fire in your home, and keep younger children away from it. Your flue should be cleaned out yearly if you are using it this often.
Heaters come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from a room heater to central heat in the entire home. A room heater needs to have room to breathe and never be tipped on the side. Be sure nothing flammable is near it and the electrical outlet is secure. Winter fires are most commonly caused by portable heaters that are used incorrectly. It’s best to have a heater that has a cutoff switch if it tilts or gets too warm. For a central heating system, you want to test it before winter hits so you know it is working correctly. The next step is the make sure the vents are clear of any debris, and might take a professional to look at them.
Check The Roof
Your ceiling is what you see on the inside of the house, and you feel safe knowing that it is overhead and protecting you from the elements such as rain and snow. Leaks can occur if there are cracks or holes in the roof and that damage can be catastrophic if left unchecked. The best thing you can do for your home before the winter months is to climb up on the roof. You are going to be looking for a few things while you are up there so that your roof is in good condition. First look around your roof for any obvious signs of wear and tear on the roof. Loose tiles, shingles or missing ones are a sign that could be a problem later on.
Hire a professional if you have no knowledge of how to do the repair yourself so you don’t make it into a bigger mess than it could be. Cracks could indicate a problem and need to replace as well. The gutters on the roof might be stuffed with leaves from fall, and could lead to a buildup of water when it rains. The more water on the roof or gutter, the more weight it will have to bear, and it could end up being too much Clean the gutters before the first rain, and again after the first rain to make sure they are clean and can let water flow freely.
For those in a cold environment there are a few more things you need to do for your roof. You might want to salt it, with a special salt that melts the ice and snow that falls on it. If you can’t get your hand on any than the alternative is to climb on the roof after the first snow and shovel it off the roof. All that snow is heavy and can collapse your roof, leaving a big cold hole in the ceiling. Not a good thing to have when it is already freezing outside. Be safe, and use a secure ladder when possible, tie yourself to the roof if you have to in order to protect yourself.
The Sidewalk / Walkways
You need to be able to get into and out of your house in the winter months and while most people that don’t have snow won’t see this as a problem, those with snow will understand. If you don’t have snow you can still have problems with the ground being slick so wear good shoes, and clear any debris such as snails, sticks and leaves out of your pathway in order for it to be safe.
You know dwellers will understand what it means to shovel your walk, sometimes every morning. It’s a tough chore, but if you want to get back and forth to the house it needs to be done. Some people salt their walkways too, which could potentially be a problem. The salt melts the ice and snow but will still leave the walkway slick. And if you have grass or anything green on the sides of that walkway it could kill it. It could also ruin the soil so that nothing else will grow there either. Your best option is to shovel it off yourself, but remember not to hose it down even though a spray of hot water might melt the ice faster. This only turns the water to ice on your pathway, making it more slick and becoming a hazard. The last thing you want to do when trying to go to work in the morning is to slip and slide all the way to the car.