If you own a home, the potential costs of repairing winter damages can keep you up at night. Leaks, burst pipes, collapsed roofs, HVAC failures and more are all possible and can run up a hefty bill. Winter began on the warmer side this year, but the cold weather is here to stay for a couple more months. Forecasts in our region predict more freezing temperatures in January and February.
Is the roof over your head protecting you from the season’s ramifications? We’ve gathered these reminders to help you protect your home — and your pocketbooks.
The weather outside is frightful, but it helps to know you can escape into a warm home. Schedule two HVAC inspections a year to decrease the chance your units will break down when you need them the most. For optimal air circulation, locate your furnace and change the air filters regularly.
With routine maintenance scheduled for your home, you’ll give yourself the peace of mind that you’re in the best position to avoid an emergency.
Weatherstrip doors and seal windows
Even with the heating system in check, cold air can still sneak in, wasting energy and your money! We advise hiring professionals periodically to inspect your home insulation, but sealing up air leaks will also help keep heat in and cold air out. By weatherstripping around doors and windows, you can ensure that your abode is airtight.
Prevent frozen and burst pipes
Frozen pipes are one of the leading risks of property damage when the temperature drops. To prevent this nightmare, pay extra attention to exposed pipes, including the ones in the basement, attic, and outdoors.
Insulators around pipes protect against freezing and help keep in heat from hot water. You can buy inexpensive insulators online or at any hardware store to save yourself from a hefty water-heating bill.
Homeowners often forget to shut off the water for exterior faucets, lines for hoses, sprinkler systems, and other outdoor water features. These should be drained and stored in a safe place until the warm weather returns. Avoid the pain of burst pipes come spring by hiring a technician to take care of complicated lines like the sprinkler system.
Inspect gutter and roof
A clogged gutter is just as unpleasant as it sounds. When it gets clogged, water freezes and traps other outdoor items like leaves and branches. When the water melts, these hazards create leakage and ice dams.
While you’re checking the gutters, take a look at the roof as well. Regular inspections and professional repairs will save you money long-term and increase the life of your home. Remember, the roof over your head takes the hardest hit from harsh winter storms.
In the event of an emergency
Winterizing your home puts you in the best position to avoid any issues, but sometimes nature has other plans. Emergency conditions include but are not limited to broken heating, dangerous leaks or drafts, and collapsed roofs. If you experience an emergency during a snowstorm or freezing temperatures, please see the official statement from the DC local government copied below. If you live outside of DC, we advise that you have a copy of your city’s emergency process on hand.
“Transportation to a shelter is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you see someone outside in need of shelter or a welfare check, call the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399–7093 or dial 311. If there is an immediate risk to safety call 911. When calling, please include the time, address or location of the sighting, and a description of the person’s appearance.”
Most importantly, we want to stress that you shouldn’t try to do your winterizing alone. HVAC units, sprinkler systems, and roofing all require complicated maintenance that should be left to professionals to best prevent damage. We’re here to help with guides and resources for support to help you keep your home in tiptop shape for any season.