Have you winterized your home yet? It is never too late to start. Harsh Upstate New York winters can wreck havoc on your home. Ice, snow and low temperatures can cause serious damage if your home isn’t properly protected.
Here are 10 tips to help winterize your home and lesson the risk of disaster.
1. Prevent frozen pipes
One of the most destructive water damage accidents that can happen in a home or commercial building is a frozen pipe that bursts. Burst pipes often ruin floors, drywall and anything in the path of the water. Although your home insurance will often cover most of the bill, it can be an extremely disrupting event. Insulate all exposed pipes, know where your main water valve is located in the event you need to shut it off and be sure to set your thermostat to 60 degrees or above.
2. Clean gutters
Frozen debris and water can add extra weight to your gutters, causing them to sag and pull away from your roof. Clogged gutters can also contribute to ice dams. The debris may prevent drainage, which forces the melting ice and snow underneath the shingles on your roof and into your home resulting in water damage.
3. Waterproof your basement / check foundation
Don’t wait until the spring to waterproof your basement. It’s very common for basements to flood when snow and ice melts. Water damage in basements can be expensive and it also promotes mold damage. Have a professional check your basement foundation and windows as well for cracks as water will seep into any entry point.
4. Have your oil fired heating system inspected
It’s essential to have any oil burning heating system including furnaces, boilers and water heaters inspected and cleaned yearly. Failure to do so, can result in puff backs which expel soot throughout your heating system and home. Removing the oily soot from walls, floors, ceiling and your possessions is extremely difficult and often requires a professional soot cleanup company.
It’s always a good idea to clean the fireplace flue and the chimney as a whole before starting a fire in the beginning of the season. This will help prevent a puff back or carbon monoxide build up.
6. Avoid Sewage Backups
Sewage backups, also known as black water overflow, is the most destructive and contaminated of the water damage types due to the bacteria and viruses present in sewage. In order to keep you sewer vent from freezing, make sure your attic is properly insulated. Also keep the sewer vents clear of snow. Snow can create a blockage, which can release sewer gases into your home.
7. Carbon monoxide detector
You should always have a functional carbon monoxide detector in your home, but it becomes particularly critical in the cold months. Furnaces and other oil burning appliances can produce carbon monoxide if they aren’t functioning properly. Check to see that they are operational and that you have extra batteries on hand.
8. Have your roof inspected
In the Northeast your roof will bear the brunt of winter weather and should be inspected in the fall to clear debris and to make sure that there are no broken shingles. It’s also essential that all your flashing is in place. Flashing adds protection to areas where two opposing roof surfaces meet, which are more vulnerable to leaks. In the spring check for damage caused by the ice, snow and sleet.
9. Prevent attic mold
Attic mold thrives during the winter due to warm air from heating systems rising up into the attic. Ice dams on your roof indicate that your attic could be vulnerable to mold issues. In order to prevent attic mold insulate the bottom flooring of your attic. Installing a dehumidifier may be necessary in some cases.
10. Keep emergency numbers saved in your phone
Despite your best efforts, sometimes failures or accidents do happen. When it comes to mold, fire or water damage, time is of the essence. So it’s best to call a restoration company as soon as you recognize the problem in order to limit the damage.
For home and business owners in Upstate New York, you can count on KPM Restoration for 24/7 emergency service at 518-859-9769