As temperatures drop, there are parts of a house that become vulnerable when it freezes outside. Prepare ahead of time with these six winter home safety tips to protect your property and everyone who lives there.
6 Winter Home Safety Tips
1. Keep the Pipes Warm
When temperatures drop below freezing, the water in your pipes is also at risk for freezing. The expansion of frozen water can cause the pipes to burst, which is both inconvenient and expensive to fix.
Disconnect your hoses outdoors and turn off the valves to the spigots. Drain any remaining water out in the process. Relieve pressure on your pipes by letting the faucet trickle when temperatures are below freezing. Insulate vulnerable pipes in crawlspaces or the basement with foam, pipe sleeves, and heat cables for maximum protection.
2. Winter Home Safety Tips for the Roof
A roof leak in the middle of winter is one thing you don’t want to deal with this season. Before the snow starts to fall, look for missing or damaged shingles that can let water in and make any needed repairs. Clean the snow off the roof when possible to reduce strain.
3. Prepare for a Power Outage
You might not experience power outages often, but it’s best to be prepared. Snow and ice can accumulate on power lines, trees can fall, and accidents can happen which may shut off your power for hours or even days. A generator makes the experience much more comfortable, but it’s possible to get by without one.
One of the most basic winter home safety tips is to have plenty of flashlights with new batteries and extras available. Keep plenty of bottled water on hand along with non-perishable food that can hold you over until the power comes back on. Purchase a spare battery pack or two to keep your phone charged during the outage.
4. Winter Home Safety Tips to Keep Paths Clear
Remove snow and ice from your walkways before it becomes unmanageable. Put down ice melt if the forecast predicts freezing precipitation. Use ice melt labeled specifically safe for pets.
Get your snow shovel out of the garage or shed. Pull out your snow blower and give it a tune-up if needed before the first big snowfall. Wear boots with traction when shoveling and push, don’t lift, the snow. Prevent strain by taking frequent breaks and wear warm gloves and a hat to prevent frostbite.
5. Check Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Perhaps the most important of the winter home safety tips involve smoke and CO detectors. You see them on the wall or ceiling, but have you checked the batteries and expiration dates lately? Take time to examine each one and replace any devices that aren’t working. Never take risks with your family’s safety.
6. Heat Safely
Many people use supplemental devices like electric heaters or kerosene heaters for extra warmth. Keep electric heaters away from anything flammable, preferably three feet from everything, and only use those with automatic shutoffs.
Never plug an electric heater into an extension cord as it can overheat and cause a fire. Vent fireplaces and wood stoves outdoors to prevent harmful fumes and gas from leaking into the house.