5 tips to help you prepare your home for winter’s worstOctober 27, 2017 damage prevention • Home Maintenance • Tips • winter
As a fully licensed and insured disaster restoration company in Michigan, we see our fair share of damage resulting from Old Man Winter’s longstanding tradition of kicking our door down and overstaying his welcome – if he was ever welcome in the first place. And while the issues we respond to during colder weather are often severe, many of them are completely preventable.
Keep these tips in mind to help keep your home in tip-top shape, and to prevent the need for costly repairs that could limit your financial freedom down the road.
- Prepare outdoor plumbing
Drain water from – and shut off water to – outdoor faucets now, and consider setting an annual reminder on your smartphone so you don’t forget this simple, but extremely important task in the future. By doing so, you’ll do your part to prevent burst pipes, a flooded home and mold that often results from excessive moisture.
- Check your chimney
If you have a fireplace, check it – and your flue – to make sure they’re unobstructed and animal free. Soot buildup and other obstructions (living or not) can block airflow and result in toxic fumes backing up into your home, and fire hazards.
- Test your sump pump
Get a five-gallon bucket and slowly pour water into the crock (the hole your sump pump is located in). Ensure the pump turns on, pumps the water out and turns off; then repeat the cycle. We recommend testing your pump at least twice per year.
- Ensure your smoke – and carbon monoxide – detectors are in working order.
Replace your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as directed by the manufacturer (typically 10 years). Vacuum your alarms at least once per year to remove dust and debris, and replace the batteries at least once per year as well. Test your detectors regularly by pressing the “test” button. More info: proper carbon monoxide detector placement; proper smoke detector placement.
- Clear your gutters
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times … and we’ll say it a thousand more! Ensuring your gutters are free of leaves, gunk and other obstructions that lead to ice dams, which form when melted snow refreezes when temperatures dip again. When the ice dams form, water can’t flow through your gutter system and often backs up and finds its way into other places, like your house via your roof. In addition to interior damage, ice dams can damage the areas they expand against, and can cause your gutters to separate from your roof.