December 9, 2021
9 Tips to Winterize Your Home
As the days grow shorter and you spend more time indoors, it’s more important than ever to make sure your Pine Canyon home is looked after against harsh winter conditions. During the coming months, freezing temperatures outside and dry heated air inside can create a variety of issues — from bursting frozen pipes to leaky roofs.
You can help prevent future damage to your home and increase safety for your family with our 9 winter maintenance tips to winterize your home.
1) CHECK YOUR HEATING SYSTEM
Experts advise getting your furnace checked annually by a professional. Most manufacturers and technicians recommend scheduling a tune-up or inspection for your furnace at least once a year. A professional will not only check for any safety issues, but they can also perform maintenance as a preventive measure so you don’t end up with a breakdown in the middle of a cold front – when you may have to wait several days for a service call. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of areas that need to be evaluated, depending on the type of heating system you have:
Gas furnace: A professional will check your vent system for possible leaks or blockages. All burners should be checked for proper ignition, as well as any hoses or drainage systems. This is also a good time to replace your filter, which should be done every six months.
Boiler: You should be checking your boiler once a month for any signs of leakage. For an annual inspection, a professional will take a look at the heat exchanger, wiring, and venting system to ensure the water pH levels are in the correct range.
Heat pump: Make sure your outdoor unit is free from leaves or snow, and trim back all shrubs and greenery. Technicians also recommend an annual inspection for heat pumps to ensure optimal functioning.
2) SCHEDULE A CHIMNEY CLEANING
As much as we love winter in Pine Canyon, the last thing you want on a cold wintry night is your home filling up with smoke because of a chimney blockage. Whether there’s a build-up of soot or a good ol’ osprey nest hiding at the top of your chimney, regular cleaning is essential for a properly functioning fireplace.
Plan ahead and schedule an inspection and cleaning — that way you and your loved ones can fully relax with a cup of hot chocolate next to your fireplace.
3) CLEAN OUT YOUR GUTTERS
If you have any trees close to your home, your gutters may be full of leaves and debris. A small rake is the easiest way to comb the leaves out of your gutter. Hire a professional to clean them if you’re uncomfortable climbing up on a ladder.
4) CHECK YOUR SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
During the winter, your doors and windows stay closed to keep out the cold air, which means fresh airflow is at a minimum. This means your home is more susceptible to the build-up of dangerous gases like carbon monoxide.
Heating systems also tend to dry out the air in your home, so if something catches on fire, it can escalate much faster. Ensure you will be alerted to any smoke or gas leaks by checking on your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
5) STOCK UP ON EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
Living in Flagstaff, it’s important to prepare for short-term emergencies, especially during our winter season. Make sure you’re prepared with plenty of water, blankets, and canned and non-perishable foods. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s good to have plenty of extra chopped wood and fire-starters on hand so you can stay nice and warm if the power goes out.
6) PREVENT PIPES FROM FREEZING
Exposure to cold air can make your pipes burst, which can cause a good amount of water damage in your home. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to ensure this doesn’t happen. First, if you’re going to be out of town, keep your thermostat set at 55 degrees and open any cabinetry with plumbing so it can still get warm airflow. Second, you can also try adding insulation to your pipes with a quick trip to the local hardware store.
7) MAINTAIN THE TREES ON YOUR PROPERTY
Walk around your home and look for potential trouble spots, such as rotted branches or trees that are leaning to one side. Consider trimming large trees near your home or powerlines, or remove a tree or any large branches that may be dead by the time winter is over. Otherwise, you risk a tree or branches falling over risking an injury or damage to your home.
8) CLEAR SNOW AND ICE FROM YOUR ROOF AND TREES
It’s also important to clear snow and ice from your trees. Wet snow can build up on tree branches and cause them to snap and break off — another safety hazard. When it comes to your roof and gutters, snow and ice can also cause damage. Use a telescoping roof rake to brush snow off your roof.
To prevent dangerous icicles from forming along your gutters, make sure they’re clear of dirt and debris. We consider hiring a roofing expert. They will go on the roof to remove icicles from above since it can be risky to knock them down from below.
9) REVERSE THE CEILING FANS
This is an easy one that doesn’t cost a penny! You can give your heating system a helping hand by reversing the motor on any ceiling fans to make them run in a clockwise direction. According to the U.S. EnergyStar program, this will force warm air that’s risen near the ceiling down to the living area. This simple step may be enough to allow you to adjust your thermostat to a lower temperature, so you can save energy and heating costs.
Preparing your Pine Canyon refuge for the cold weather ahead will help you and your family enjoy the season to its fullest. As you go through your winter home maintenance checklist, you can have peace of mind knowing your home is ready to take on our winter wonderland.
Make sure you also check out our Flagstaff Winter Guide here.