The winter season is not just frustrating because of the cold weather and early sunsets — it can also do a real number on your home if the proper precautions are not taken to defend against the elements. Homeowners, business owners, and landlords must know what steps to take in order to protect their property from harsh winter effects, as the damage has the power to affect your home’s value and your wallet. Here are some steps you can take to save your home from as much damage as possible this winter.
1. Prevent Frozen Pipes
You’ll need to watch for preliminary warning signs of frozen pipes, especially reduced faucet water flow, but it’s critical to take all the necessary precautionary steps before reaching this point. Start by turning off the water supply leading to outdoor faucets and allowing household faucets to drip slightly to avoid freezing in dormant pipes. If a pipe does appear to be frozen,
If a pipe does appear to be frozen but hasn’t yet burst, use a low heat source such as a blow dryer or space heater to thaw it out, and ensure that the associated faucet is turned on so the water has a place to go as it begins to flow. Never use a flame under any circumstances, and never use a blow dryer or electric heating tool in the presence of standing water; if you’re worried about safety, you may opt to wrap hot water-soaked towels around the pipe.
2. Protect Your Windows
Windows are notorious for letting in the cold air, therefore driving up your utilities bills in the winter as you crank the heat. As soon in the season as possible, remove or cover any window air conditioners. Then, replace or repair any weather stripping and install draft snakes as a final safeguard.
3. Protect the Outside of Your Home
The exterior of your property is just as important as the interior. Regularly clean out your gutters to keep debris from freezing in them, and use an ice repellant solution on pathways or steps in front of your house. You should also drain your fountains or open-air pools or hot tubs, and sweep snow off greenery to keep it as healthy as possible.
Don’t wait for surprises in the spring thaw. If you’re considering selling your property in the future, a professional home inspector will evaluate your home for potential damage so you can address any issues before they negatively affect your listing.