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Preparing for Cold Weather

Posted October 03, 2012 in Adel, Advice Column

The comforts of a cozy, warm home in winter can help you forget about the short days and the multiple layers of clothing. Following a maintenance schedule throughout the year will certainly benefit you in the winter, but be aware of the hazards the cold conditions can bring to your home.

Be energy efficient
Since your heating system will be running constantly throughout the winter, remember to change out your HVAC filters every month. Inspect the insulation in your attic and crawlspace. Warm air rises and leaves the house through the roof, so you should focus on insulation in your ceilings. Seal areas around recessed lights, the attic hatch and plumbing vents that may be allowing warm air from the living space below to enter the attic.

Protect your pipes
Pipes located in attics, crawl spaces, basements and near outer walls can be susceptible to freezing in extreme temperatures. When the forecast calls for unusually cold temperatures, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight. Also try keeping cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate in places like below sinks. If you open the cabinet doors, be sure to remove anything inside the cabinets that may pose a safety to hazard to children such as household cleaners. For exposed pipes in your attic, basement or crawlspaces add extra insulation around them.

Holiday decorations
Inspect the wires of your light display before switching them on. They may be frayed and present an electrical fire hazard. Same goes for the Christmas tree inside — always check the light strands for any sign of wear and tear from being in storage. If you have a real Christmas tree, keep it watered, since dry trees catch fire easier.

Winter yard care
Even with the cold weather conditions, your yard still needs to be maintained. Make sure tree and shrub branches are well away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home. Walk around your home and survey the roof to see if any ice dams have formed; call a contractor if you suspect this is the case. As you walk around your house, check the foundation for small cracks or openings where mice or other pests can tunnel in. Winter is when they seek the warmth of your house, so seal up any possible entrances. While you’re outside, clear snow off gas meters and away from basement windows and your dryer exhaust vent.

Information provided by Eric Schepers, State Farm Insurance, 516 Nile Kinnick Drive S., Suite A, 993-3482.

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