Is Your House Ready for Cold Weather?
December 14, 2017 | Tiffany Bielli
As a homeowner, there are seasonal duties that should not be overlooked. We do not have extreme temperatures, but the cold we do experience is enough to wreak havoc, if preventative measures aren't taken.  Below, are some steps you can take to ensure cold weather doesn’t send a chill down your spine.

Have your HVAC inspected/serviced

You might have ignored recommendations to have someone give your gas or electric furnace an annual check-up. Why spend $50 to $100 just to be told everything is fine? Easy answer: because it’ll be significantly more if you have to call for an emergency repair when it’s freezing outside. HVACs can collect dust, suffer outdoor air intake blockages, or have gas ignition issues that might go undetected until it’s too late. Condensation drip lines can get blocked, and cause significant amount of water damage.

Trim your trees.

Tree branches that loom over your house might not be a big deal during warm weather, but if we encounter any ice it can weigh them down, creating potential damage with your property. (Or worse, your neighbor’s.) Trim trees so you don’t have any bark-related threats after a storm.

Check your water pipes.

Ask someone in plumbing--or real estate--about a frozen, bursting water pipe and you’ll probably get a look of pity and horror. Pipes that are exposed to colder temperatures in unheated or cool areas of your home are susceptible to freezing and expansion, which creates a tremendous mess if they burst from the pressure. Wrap your exposed pipes in insulation to help keep them warm. Make sure everyone in your household knows where the water shut-off is in case of an emergency. If your house will be vacant, you can leave faucets slowly dripping with extreme cold temps. It is also a good idea to turn the main water shutoff. If your house was built between 1978 and 1996, be aware if you have polybutylene plumbing. There have been major issues with this plumbing, to cause tens of thousands dollars of damage to some of our client's homes. The cost to replace plumbing is similar to replacing a roof or carpet, with expense. Much less than the damage it can cause.

Block drafts.

Older homes with ill-fitting doors are especially prone to cold air escaping into the home through frames, leading to an increase in energy expenses. To cut down on your bill (and chill), opt for a simple door draft block that insulates entryways from outside breezes. This is a great time to caulk or replace weather stripping with windows or doors.

Check your vents.

You don’t want furniture or other obstacles blocking warm air from circulating inside your home. More importantly, you don’t need anything obstructing the air intake vents, since that could end up “suffocating” your furnace and causing expensive repairs. Keep all vents free from anything that could impede air flow.

Look for loose exterior fittings.

If you have siding, shutters, or other additions to your home that are growing loose with age, make sure they’re tightened up before freezing and blistery weather moves in. Strong winds and ice can strip them right off the premises.

 Reverse Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans that run counter-clockwise are great for summer weather, but reversing them to a clockwise rotation will help circulate the hot air near the ceiling back toward the room. Most fans should give you the option of switching.

Clean Your Gutters

You should be doing this regardless of the season, but gutters clogged with debris in the winter can slow water flow, cause ice to form, and create dams that will damage your exterior.

We are always here if you need us. If you need some recommendations for contractors for any of the above services, please reach out to us anytime!



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