Early Arctic Blast Catches Many Unprepared

old man winterThis week’s blast of bitter cold weather caught many in Northwest Montana totally unprepared. Here are some helpful reminders and friendly encouragement to get your home ready for the remainder of what promises to be a long duration winter. There is no better time than now to prevent big expensive home disasters!

  • Call a heating contractor to schedule a time to clean and check your furnace and replace dirty filters. (Most HVAC companies wilI be busy now, so at least get on their waiting list.) Remove any flammable cardboard boxes, or other clutter that may have accumulated near the furnace during the past months, move stuff a safe distance away or dispose of any trash to prevent fire.
  • While you are thinking about it, this is also a good time to have duct work and carpets cleaned. This will really improve your indoor air quality and spiff up the home for the holiday season ahead. Clean out the clothes dryer vent.
  • Call a qualified chimney sweep to clean and inspect fireplaces, stoves, chimneys or flues before further use during the Winter. If you are burning wood or pellets this should be an every fall maintenance item! Winter fires associated with wood stoves are all too often deadly.
  • Be sure smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors are fully functioning. Replace older units and install fresh batteries.
  • Cover drafty windows and doors with weather-stripping or plastic to prevent heat loss. Switch out Summer window screens with glass replacements, install storm windows if you have them. Your windows are the largest cause of heat loss, so caulking to stop infiltration or insulation to slow heat loss will pay for the material with energy savings this season!
  • Prevent ice dams by adding extra insulation to your attic, cleaning out rain gutters and down spouts. Commit to remove any icicles as they form. Ice dams cause extensive water damage when they accumulate and then back up water through roofing into a structure.
  • Get out your snow thrower (and what-the-heck, put away the lawn mower and sporting goods). Drain the gas from your lawn mower and other lawn care equipment before storing. Tune up your snow blower, make sure it’s in working condition for the first big storm. Pull out your shovels from the garage. Stock up on ice melt.
  • Protect against plumbing freezes by draining garden hoses. Locate and label your Water Main so it is easily found by anyone in the house in case it needs to be shut off in an emergency. Always leave the home heat at least 55 degrees if you leave for any length of time. Arrange for a friend to watch the place before leaving for Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • And the easiest preparation tip of all, place FloodCo’s  phone number 406 892-1717 on your fridge or in your smart phone contacts. We can be there in a hurry to help you get things back to normal if disaster should strike. We are also happy to answer complex home maintenance questions or suggest other contractors to help with your winterizing challenges. Call us and get acquainted. We are here when you need help!

Posted by Lloy Griffing   Comments are welcome, feel free to email lloy@floodco.net.

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