Extreme winter weather can leave neighborhoods and communities without power or other public services for long periods of time. It is a smart idea to prepare your home for such winter weather emergencies as well as cold weather throughout the season that can cause minor issues or even evolve into larger problems.
Whether it is for your primary residence or a second home you’re leaving vacant, here are tips for winterizing your house:
- Prepare your plumbing and invest in an emergency water shutoff system. Frozen pipes can burst and cause significant damage to your home. Consider insulating pipes or crawl spaces themselves. To protect your home from damage in the event of a burst pipe, it is recommended to get a leak detection and emergency water shutoff system, ranging in price between $400 and $3,000, which can mean the difference between a smaller insurance claim and as much as thousands of dollars in damage.
- Check for Water Damage. Look out for water damage, especially parts of your home that may be vulnerable during a winter storm. Mold can grow and start growing on a moist area within 12 hours. Keep water damage from causing an air quality problem by remaining vigilant about your roof, ice dams and any surfaces where water can get inside, including around door and window frames.
- Assess your outlet situation – Electrical outlets aren’t always where you need them, and if your house is older, you may find that you don’t have enough in every room. To protect against electrical fires, don not attach power strips to other outlet splitters, and be sure to use a surge protector if you’re plugging in large appliances. And as you pull out holiday decorations, it’s important to examine cords, wires and plugs for damage and throw out anything that’s not in good condition.
- Adjust your thermostat. The cost of your heating and cooling bills often plays a part in the temperature you stick with during summer and winter – in summer, you may be willing to keep your house at 72 degrees or higher, while in winter you may lower the target temperature to 68 degrees. However, make sure the interior of your home doesn’t get too cold as exterior temperatures drop – at the very minimum, the heat should kick on before it dips to 50 degrees Fahrenheit inside.
Now you’ll be ready during the next snowstorm to enjoy hot cocoa by the cozy fireplace and watch your favorite Hallmark Christmas movies.