The winter months can be hard on your home. Many problems arise due to a lack of knowledge on home care. If you are going away for the holidays or do not spend a lot of time at home, take a look at these safety precautions to help you protect your house in these hard months ahead.
Check your Lights
It is the holidays, and we all love to look at the Christmas lights sparkling along the rooftops. Many people like to participate in this classic tradition whether they just hang some lights or go above and beyond, choreographing the lights to music. Before you put the lights up or away, check them. Look for frayed wires. These could easily start a fire especially if they sit against a dried tree. Also, look for loose light bulbs that may be making the strand faulty. No one wants a homeowners insurance mishaps during the holidays. If you do need to replace lights, look for ones with safer alternatives such lights labeled RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) which there is no lead used to make the lights.
Ventilate your Attic
Snow will melt off and on through out the winter holidays. It will pile on your roof on those cold nights and begin to melt and drain off the side of the roof on the warm days. This can create a ice dam and cause quite a bit of damage after time. It blocks draining water, forcing the water to leak under the roof, into the attic, and into the walls. Properly ventilating your attic can help prevent this by leveling out the temperature to match the outside’s. Cleaning your gutters and checking the amount of snow accumulating on your roof will also help reduce the chances of this.
Probably one of the most common problems in winter is exploding pipes. People go away for the holidays and forget to cut off the water supplies but remember to turn off the heat. After a few days of being gone, the pipes freeze and then erupt from the pressure. Power often goes out in the winter from snow storms, frozen lines, accidents into electricity poles, etc. No power means no heat, leaving the pipes on their own to freeze and burst. If you are about to leave for more than a day or your power goes out even for the night, turn the main water supply valve off. This will help protect them freezing and exploding. There are insulated pipe covers. Use these to help keep the pipes warmer for longer. Open the cabinets that hold pipes to allow circulation of warm air around your pipes. Finally, you can turn on a faucet a tiny bit to let water run through the pipes and keep them warm. It should hardly- if at all- raise your water bill.
If they do freeze
Pray that they do not explode. Your home will have much bigger damage if they do. Place wet towels with warm water and wrap them around the pipes. Or take a good hair dryer and run it up and down the pipe slowly melting it as you go. This will allow for a gradual melting process and should not damage the pipes any more than they are from freezing. DO NOT pour a bucket of hot water over the pipe. This will only make the situation worse!
The snow has held off fairly well thus far, but as the new year approaches, we can anticipate the snow will soon follow. Take advantage of the extra time before the snow fall; prepare your home for winter!