Winter Safety Tips: Things to Consider this Winter Season

January 5, 2016

With the winter months upon us, it is important to make sure your house and yourself are adequately prepared for another cold winter season. Preventative maintenance now can help decrease or even eliminate costly and time-consuming emergency repairs that often occur during the most harsh winter days and nights. Be proactive, take the necessary precautionary steps to fight back against the effects on the bitter winter storms and prevent costly home damage.

Heating Tips

• Have your furnace or chimney inspected and serviced by a licensed professional prior to the heavy winter months. These inspections are essential in order to inspect for potential safety hazards or to remove accumulated build up that could prove to be a safety risk. It is important to make sure your furnace or chimney is working properly and is safe to use prior to the start of winter.
• Space heaters are a great way to stay warm during the winter months, but they can be a potential hazard if not use appropriately. It is important to always maintain at least an open 3ft radius around the space heater and always make sure your space heater is turned off if it is located in an unoccupied room. Additionally, do not let heaters run while sleeping as this can contribute to an increased risk of fire.
• Candles are in an abundance during the winter months, make sure you are using them accordingly to assure your safety. Ensure candles are placed in secure areas where they cannot be accessed by children or pets. Never leave candles unattended, whether you are sleeping, leaving the room, or stepping out of the house, make sure all candles are put out beforehand.
• Check fire detectors to make sure they all have working batteries and that they are operating effectively in the case of emergency.

Utility Tips

• Long and cold winters can affect many portions of your home, but not many are at a higher safety risk than uninsulated pipes. Often uninsulated pipes can be at high risk of freezing and bursting. These pipes are often at an increased risk due to where they are located around the house. Many pipes at risk are often found in unheated attics, basements, or are even partly outside. To safeguard against pipes freezing and bursting properly insulate these pipes with insulation or wrap in heating tape.
• In the event of a pipe crack, leak, or burst be sure to know where and how to shut off you water. Prior to freezing temperatures, inspect all at risk pipes for these potential leaks or cracks to take the preventative steps to prevent a pipe burst.

Miscellaneous Tips

• Cut down and/or trim any potentially harmful outside debris from trees that could potentially fall as a result of large amounts of snow or ice. It is important to identify these risks to prevent damage to your home as the winter months become harsh
• Be sure to clear gutters to make sure during rain or snow storms that rain or melting snow can properly drain and that this water is directed away from the house to prevent damage to the house foundation.
• Clear and salt appropriate driveways/walkways to ensure those using these surfaces are not at risk of injuring themselves.

Keep all these tips in mind as the winter months are fast approaching to keep your home and family safe during these increasingly busy times.