The cold winter temperatures, ice and snow can wreak havoc on your house. Are you prepared? You may already take measures to prep your home for winter, such as fixing loose shingles, preventing ice dams and trimming tree branches. Now’s the time to prevent six common winter indoor household issues, too, as you stay comfortable, cozy and safe all season.
1. Heating Failure
If your home’s heating system fails, your family will be cold, and your pipes could freeze, which can leave you without water. An emergency heating system repair can be expensive to fix, too.
Protect your home’s heating system with regular maintenance. Change any filters at least monthly and vacuum the radiators, too. You can also remove snow and ice from the exterior heating unit as soon as possible after a storm as you protect your home and stay warm.
2. Gas Leak
High winds can extinguish your furnace or oven pilot lights. Winter is also a common time when gas pipes or gas cylinders get damaged and when homeowners accidentally leave gas appliances unattended and turned on. These factors can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning or even a gas leak that increases the risk of a house fire or explosion.
Know how to turn off the gas in case of an emergency. After every storm, inspect your gas pipes, cylinders and appliances for damage, and schedule repairs as soon as possible. Always pay attention when you’re using gas appliances, too, and never leave them unattended or turned on when you’re not around. Additionally, install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home near the ceiling as an additional protective measure.
3. Mould Growth
High indoor temperatures and damp conditions create the ideal conditions for mould growth. Mould can make your family sick and destroys the external and internal surfaces of your home. It’s an expensive byproduct of winter that you want to avoid.
Prevent mould growth with proper air circulation. Fans, open windows and dehumidifiers can reduce moisture in bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and other areas where mould is prone to grow. Also, wipe off condensation from windows and surfaces after you shower and wash dishes. You may need to remove the carpeting from mould-prone areas or apply a mould-proof finish to walls, flooring and other surfaces, too.
4. Water Pipe Bursts
When temperatures plummet during cold snaps or storms, your water pipes may freeze and burst. If this catastrophe happens, your home could flood, and you’ll have no water for cooking, showers, laundry, or dishes.
Insulating your home’s water pipes, including external faucets, is the common first step to preventing burst pipes. You may also repair leaking taps and seal drafts throughout your home as you prevent frozen pipes. Before leaving for an extended vacation or trip, turn the heat on, open cabinet doors or turn off the water. If your pipes do freeze despite your precautions, turn off the water supply to prevent damage and contact your plumber right away.
5. Water Heater Failure
Hot showers are warm and relaxing, and you might do more laundry or dishwashing in the winter as you complete DIY projects or hang out at home more often. These changes in water usage increase the demand on your family’s water heater. Overuse can put a strain on this appliance and cause it to run out of hot water or stop working.
Increase the efficiency of your water heater and improve its longevity when you have it inspected before cold weather hits. Then wrap the heater in a special blanket and insulate the water pipes. You may also upgrade to a tankless unit, especially if your water heater is over 10 years old. For additional protection, put time limits on hot showers and wash laundry in cold water.
6. Sewer Floods or Leaks
Sump pumps may flood, and septic tanks may leak in freezing temperatures. You can add sewer back-up coverage to your home insurance policy, but if either of these two issues occurs, you’ll have a big mess to clean up.
Schedule sump pump and septic tank maintenance before winter starts. Ensure the sump pump functions properly and check for clogs before storms. If your septic tank lines leak or freeze, schedule a plumbing repair and don’t park or drive on that section of your property.
Preventative maintenance can help you avoid common winter household problems. But if you do face one of these six challenges, know the steps to take. Being prepared can help you stay comfortable and avoid filing insurance claims as you enjoy the beautiful winter season.