Winter Home Prep Checklist [infographic]
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Winter Home Prep Checklist [infographic]

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It will soon be winter in Michigan, which means cold weather that can be harmful to your home.

Follow these tips to help ensure the season is as harmless as possible:

Service your heating system

The cost of a scheduled service call, at your convenience, is far preferable to that of waiting for a furnace emergency to force your hand.

Regular heating system maintenance is less expensive than you may think, and can help extend your system’s life and efficiency for your family and home.

Help prevent frozen pipes

Damage from burst pipes accounts for a large portion of homeowner’s insurance claims. Here are some basic tips for avoiding this problem:

  • If you have exposed pipes, especially in unheated areas, use insulating pipe sleeves on their entire lengths, including bends and joints. Don’t forget to seal using duct tape.
  • Remove garden hoses, shut off water to those exterior connections and drain remaining water from those lines.
  • Consider opening cabinets and cupboards to allow heated indoor air to circulate around pipes near exterior walls.
  • Some let faucets drip throughout the winter, the idea being that it keeps water moving and not freezing. However, this practice will definitely increase your water bill and may not work effectively in extremely cold temperatures.

Most importantly, if a pipe does freeze, don’t attempt to thaw it yourself. Call a plumber for assistance.

Seal up air leaks

Cold air can get into your home in a lot of ways, particularly through exterior windows and doors.

Be sure to check windows for areas of deterioration and repair them, and seal up any gaps in the frames using silicone caulk. When it comes to doors, check the seals and weather stripping, along with the frames.

Inspect the roof

When it comes to your roof, make sure there aren’t missing, loose or damaged portions. If there are, consider repairing them now, or plan to do so in the spring.

What about your gutters? Make sure they’re cleaned regularly to avoid a number of problems, including leaks and ice dams. You may also want to consider gutter guards if your home has many nearby trees.

Speaking of ice dams, if you have them or lots of icicles during winter, it’s possible you have a problem with warm air escaping your home somehow. Consider contacting a home-energy contractor to inspect your home’s insulation.

Finally, whenever you’re working on your roof, be sure to be careful. A possible fall is a much greater risk than something like loose shingles, so please be safety-minded while you work.

Get your chimney swept

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, or a direct vent gas fireplace, you should have a certified contractor maintain them regularly. A properly maintained fireplace is safer and more efficient.

Check the sump pump

This is the time of year to be sure your sump pump is ready for the upcoming snow melt. Your sump pit may be dry or have little water this time of year, but you can add a little to it to check that the pump is working.

Once again, hiring a contractor to help is something to consider, as is having a battery- or water-operated backup sump pump.

Ensure working detectors

Winter is also a great time to ensure you have the appropriate detectors in the appropriate places throughout your home, and that they’re all working.

It’s recommended that your home have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in proximity to any sleeping locations, and on each level of the home, including the basement.

Be sure to check all batteries, or invest in detectors powered by home electrical service with battery backup.

Making the Complex Simple

This time of year can be very hard on your home. Following these simple tips can help minimize the risks.

Please keep in mind that this information is advisory only and not a guarantee. Please see these tips in a helpful infographic below:

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