Preparing your home for winter is an important annual ritual for Utah homeowners. Simple things like, adding insulation in your attic before winter arrives can help prevent ice dams this winter. Tuning up your heating system now can help prevent more costly emergency repairs when that big storm hits the Wasatch Front, when it can be difficult to find supplies and our heating repair staff is swamped with calls.
The following winter maintenance tips can help you prepare your Utah home to withstand another cold season.
Your furnace works hard all winter, before putting it to the test when the temperatures drop, take the time for preventive maintenance. Not only will it help extend the life of your heating system and identify potential problems. It may safe your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. All Utah Plumbing, Heating & Air offers a deep discount on furnace inspections to prevent such tragedies. We recommend having this inspection done every year before you crank up the thermostat. If not at the very least make sure you change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector and change your furnace filters.
During the winter never set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees to prevent frozen pipes. Keep doors to unoccupied rooms open to help keep an even temperature throughout the house.
Your insulation is an important line of defense from winter’s gusty winds and freezing temperatures, it’s worth taking time to inspect and upgrade insulation and weather stripping before the temperature drops.
Add extra insulation in the attic to help guard against ice dams. If too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm the ice and snow on the roof. When it refreezes, it can cause an ice dam, which can lead to water damage inside your home or possibly even a roof collapse.
Add weather stripping around doors and caulk windows to guard against drafts and heat loss.
Remove screens from windows and install storm windows, if appropriate.
Freezing temperatures can be especially damaging to your home’s plumbing. Make sure your pipes are adequately prepared to withstand a cold snap and remember to take extra precautions if you are going to be leaving your home, including shutting off your water.
Check for water leaks and fix problems immediately; wrap water piping in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or attics. Use only thermostatically-controlled heat tape if your water piping is plastic, and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Remove hoses from hose bibs. Water trapped in the hoses can freeze and expand causing a broken hose bib or pipe.
Learn how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are located in case they do freeze; you may be able to prevent water damage.
As you prepare for winter, following are some further safety measures that are especially important during the cold season.
Trim trees and remove dead branches so they do not damage your home or injure someone if they fall because of ice, snow or wind.
Keep gutters clear of leaves, sticks and other debris to help ensure melting snow can drain properly. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
Repair steps and handrails to make them safer in the ice and snow.
Check smoke detectors, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries to ensure they are operating properly.
The first storm of the year can come sooner than you think. Stock up early and get key equipment, like snow blowers and generators, in good working condition long before you need them, so you can be prepared to enjoy what the season has to offer.