When temperatures dip and snowflakes start to fall, no one needs to remind us to break out our sweaters, scarves and coats. But we might not always remember that our homes also need to be prepared for colder weather.
Steve Piraino, owner of S & D Prime Maintenance, said there are several simple but important steps everyone should take in the coming weeks to prepare their houses, and the houses of their aging parents and loved ones, for the long, cold winter ahead.
Lock it up tight
Windows and doors don’t only keep unwanted visitors out, they also keep out cold winter air. Piraino suggests inspecting all exterior doors and windows to be sure they close properly and that locks work. Check around each for leaks and drafts, and seal those spots with caulk to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
Inspect those spigots
Outdoor water spigots can lead to big problems if not properly turned off and drained, Piraino said. “If they have drains, drain them,” he said, and make sure hoses are disconnected and no water is dripping from outdoor spouts.
Avoid gutter trouble
Call out a professional, like S & D, to clear downspouts and gutters of debris that collected during the warmer months. Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to ice dams when they’re filled with snow, which can lead to major roof damage and leaks.
Refresh your filter
When it comes to furnace filters, you get what you pay for, Piraino said. “Do not spend money on a cheap air filter,” he said. Instead, invest in several good quality, pleated filters and install a new one every other month through the winter. The money you spend on the filters will be money saved on heating bills.
Get a checkup
An annual inspection and cleaning is important to keeping a furnace running reliably and efficiently. It also can prevent the need for expensive repairs.
Take a peek at the pump
When the ground is frozen, water has nowhere to go but into your sump pump. Make sure it’s working by having it professionally inspected.
You’ve got their number
911 isn’t the only emergency number you might need this winter. Piraino suggests keeping numbers for furnace repair and plumbing on hand, too. “It takes no time to start losing heat when your furnace fails,” Piraino said. Waiting for morning might not be an option, especially for older home owners.
Pass the salt
Piraino suggests keeping a coffee can full of ice-melting salt near each exit, so that surfaces can be treated before being stepped on. Before stepping out onto icy porches, pavement or stairs, grab the can and give the surface a generous sprinkle. “It will make entering and leaving safe for you and for your visitors,” Piraino said.
Light the way
Night comes early in the winter months, meaning many people are coming home to a darkened doorway. Make sure outdoor lights are working and that they provide adequate light. Better yet, install motion sensor lights that turn on automatically when someone approaches the house or garage. “They’re great,” Piraino said.
The professionals at S & D can perform all of these tasks and more. “We’re on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Piraino said. Just call (800) 660-6028 to set up a time to get your house ready for whatever winter brings.