Icicles, Ice Dams, Frozen Pipes

Your home endures a lot during winter. Be ready to safely keep the cold outside and the warm inside and prevent winter disasters with these 11 tips.

  1. Clean your gutters. By winter you may have a huge collection of leaves and other debris. Clogged gutters can cause icicles and ice dams to form when freezing rain, sleet, and snow come along.
  2. Flush your water heater. Sediment can collect at the bottom and limit your heater’s efficiency Flush the water through the drain valve at the bottom of the unit to get rid of the sediment and keep your water heater working efficiently.
  3. Inspect your roof. Repair any damaged shingles, metal flashing or vents that could leak and cause water damage inside.
  4. Replace dirty furnace filters. With clean filters your furnace will run more efficiently and cost less to operate.
  5. Service your furnace. You should have already done this one at the beginning of autumn, but if you didn’t, do it now. Have a service professional inspect it and perform any needed maintenance.
  6. Check fireplaces for soot or creosote buildup. Creosote is a by-product of burning wood and it’s flammable, meaning it could catch fire inside your chimney. Have a professional chimney sweep clean any buildup before it can cause a problem. Close the flue when you’re not using the fireplace to prevent heat loss up the chimney. Learn more fire prevention tips here.
  7. Shut off outdoor faucets. Close any shutoff valves and drain any remaining water in the line. Remove garden hoses and store them safely to prevent damage to the faucet and water pipds from ice that may expand inside the hose.
  8. Insulate your windows and doors. Use caulk and weather-stripping to seal gaps and cracks around your windows and doors and save up to 10% on your heating bills. Not sure if you have a problem? Move a lighted candle along your door or window frame, being careful not to touch anything flammable. If the flame flickers anywhere, you have a leak.
  9. Install storm doors and windows. if insulating and caulking just isn’t enough, new doors and windows could increase your energy efficiency by as much as 45%.
  10. Insulate your pipes. Frozen pipes can cause a lot of damage; insulate any pipes in crawl spaces, attics, and any other unheated areas. Learn more about frozen pipes and how to avoid a disaster.
  11. Create a fire escape plan. Everyone in your home should know how to exit in case of emergency and where to meet safely outside. Make sure windows and doors aren’t blocked by furniture or other items.

Following these tips will help you stay warm and safe all winter. But if you ever have an issue with frozen pipes or other water damage, or fire damage, Disaster One is always standing by for quick emergency response. You can call us at 800-277-4787 or contact us online any time of day or night.