Protect entryway flooring. Snow, ice, salt and sand, will take a toll on entryway floors in the winter. Increase the life of your flooring by using floor mats both inside and outside each entrance to your home.
Stock your emergency supplies. Be prepared with bottled water, shelf-stable foods, flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, radio and smartphone charger.
Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.
Get ahead of ice dams. Remove snow as quickly as possible from the roof after snow storms.
What to do if an ice dam has formed. Carefully remove snow and ice if possible without damaging roof and gutters.
- If you have heat cables, turn them on. Heat cables cannot prevent or fully remove ice dams, but can melt enough off the ice to create a channel for water to flow out, preventing some damage.
Keep an eye on trees. Brush off snow after each snowfall especially if a tree is within reach of your house. Heavy snow on tree limbs makes them more prone to breaking.
Stop cold air from getting in.
- Check and repair caulking around doors and windows and anywhere something penetrates a wall, like outside faucets and air vents.
- Check weatherstripping on doors and windows.
- Seal cracks in foundation walls.
Steps to prevent pipes from freezing in winter.
- Insulate pipes — at least those by windows and doors, and in unheated areas of the home.
- Disconnect your hose from the outside hose bib (outside faucet).
- Keep the heat set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you are away
Here’s what to do if a pipe freezes:
- Turn on the tap of the frozen pipe and leave it open while treating the pipe.
Allow warm air to flow safely to the affected area — always use any heat source (electric heating pad, blow dryer, space heater) safely to avoid potential harm and damage to your home and its occupants.
- If you’ve found one frozen pipe, check all the taps in the house — if only a drip comes out, there is likely another frozen pipe.
- If you cannot access the frozen pipe, or if your efforts to thaw it do not work, call a licensed plumber.
- Properly maintain your heating system.
If you heat with oil, have your furnace or boiler cleaned every year.
- If you heat with gas, you can have it done every three years or so.
- Make sure to change the air filters in your furnace regularly.
- For high-efficiency heating systems, make sure that PVC vent pipes are cleared of snow and debris.