Winter weather often prompts people to start preparation for the upcoming holiday season, but consumers should also be preparing their homes for the cold months. It’s recommended having a licensed professional inspect and clean any chimneys and wood burning stoves in a home before heavy winter use, and to have the furnace and boiler serviced at least once a year.
What you burn in your fireplaces or stoves could also put your home at risk, they say to only burn materials made of maple, oak or ash. Never burn old holiday trees they can cause unsafe flames. Before burning anything, check to make sure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
Theft is also a bigger risk as the holidays approach. Criminals know that many families travel for the holidays and will look for unoccupied homes to break into. According to shipping giant FedEx, 22 million packages will be shipped on cyber Monday, many of which will likely be left on door steps and front porches—an easy target to thieves. They recommend eliminating this risk by sending shipments to require a signature or instructing packages to be left on a back or side porch.
To keep your energy costs down this winter, they suggest sealing any gaps around windows and door frames that allow cold air to get in and out air to escape. Keeping your gutters clear of any debris that could cause water to back up against your house and damage your roof, siding or wood trim can prevent hefty repair bills.
Lack of home maintenance can also lead to ice dams that occur when snow falls and collects on the roof but a lack of adequate insulation in the attic causes the precipitation to melt down the slope of the roof and then refreeze. The constant heating and refreezing each day causes the ice to build up, which can lead to water damage to the inside of the house, according. They recommend making sure you have enough insulation in the attic—but not too much. You don’t want the attic to be too warm. It should be close to the outside temperature.