Winter officially began on Dec. 21, and homeowners should take the time to perform one last check of their properties and houses before cold, snowy, icy weather really sets in for the next few months. Doing so may help keep everyone in the house safe and warm, while also saving money and averting potentially bigger crises.
Perhaps the biggest financial risk homes face during the winter is if pipes burst, according to Consumer Reports. When that happens, water can spill into the walls and cause a lot of damage long before a problem is even detected, and the issue can get out of hand quickly. To that end, it’s wise for homeowners to assess where they stand with their water pipes.
Pipes that run along the outside of a home or along the ceiling in the basement and are uninsulated could be at risk, but wrapping them in a cheap, specialized material or even just towels can help protect them even if a home’s heating system stops working.
“During winter months we recommend you wrap your pipes, keep your home at 65 degrees or more and know where your home’s water shutoff is located, so you can quickly shut off your water in an emergency,” Rich Johnson, a spokesman for USAA insurance, told Consumer Reports.
What Else to Insulate
When insulating pipes, it’s also important for homeowners to make sure they aren’t losing a lot of heat in their homes by having uninsulated attics or other spaces. After all, heat rises, so homeowners may lose a lot more heated air than they expect through their ceilings. But when attics are properly insulated along floors, they not only help homeowners save on heat, but also prevent potential ice dams from forming, undetected, on the roof because a warmer roof can lead to snow melting under its surface.
Up On the Roof
When thinking about the roof generally, it’s a good idea for homeowners to make sure all the tiles or shingles up there are in good shape, and that all the gutters are cleared of fallen leaves and other debris that can lead to backups and more potential ice dams, according to Real Simple. A quick trip up a ladder might be all it takes to identify problem areas before they become major issues.
Similarly, owners should also go around the exterior of their homes and look for any cracks and holes along the edges of window frames and doorways. Doing so may help them identify a number of fissures they can fill or cover with caulk, which will help keep the heated air inside their homes this winter. While any individual crack or hole is going to be small, some experts estimate that the collective area of all of them across an entire house can amount to the size of an open window.
At the end of the day, homeowners are always encouraged to do as much research as they can, as this ensures homes stay comfortable and safe for all involved throughout the holiday season and beyond.
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