Winter is coming. And with it comes the cold, dreary weather. Some regions may see thick snow that piles up against doors while others may experience freezing rain or heavy winds and stormy conditions. It is during these winter months that many people become sick or injured. Often, this is because their homes are not adequately prepared for the harsh conditions. Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself and your family this winter.
Turn Up the Heat
The top priority when staying safe in the winter is to keep your home warm.
A snuggly blanket will not be enough to keep you warm in the peak of winter. Hypothermia can occur indoors as well as outdoors. Therefore, you should make sure your home is adequately heated to avoid life-threatening injuries and sickness.
The ideal indoor temperature during the winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but anything over 60 degrees should be sufficient. You can save energy and utility bills by heating your home less, but you should always consider your health and safety first. Keep room doors closed to save on heating costs instead.
If your heater is not working as well as expected, call a heating ventilation and air conditioning contractor to inspect it and get it fixed right away. They can also help to clean and replace your filters to keep your heating system operating efficiently.
Fix Your Insulation
Poor insulation can result in high heating bills during the winter months.
There are many places where heat loss can occur in a home such as doors and windows that are not properly insulated or sealed. Check the frames of your windows and doors as well as the panels and use caulking to fill any cracks that you find.
You can also install storm windows for added insulation. This will help to prevent heat from escaping through your windows during the winter and can lower your energy bills. Use door sweeps or removable draft guards to prevent cold air from entering your home through the gaps under your doors.
Check the insulation in your attic and basement and make sure there are no leaks. Older homes may need to have their insulation reinstalled. There are several types of insulation including fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool that can be installed quickly and inexpensively. Increasing the depth of attic insulation has one of the highest returns on investment of any home improvements you can make.
Winterize Your Home
In addition to insulating your home for winter, you should winterize certain components.
When the water freezes inside your pipes it can prevent them from working properly, which can cause water damage in your home. Therefore, you should check and insulate all your pipes. You should also run the faucets to drain out any excess water in unused pipes to reduce the risk of freezing.
Have your roof, gutters, and chimneys thoroughly inspected to identify and remedy any leaks. Clean out debris from the gutters so that they do not clog and overflow. Poor insulation and clogged gutters can lead to ice dams in the winter which can damage your roof and endanger your family.
Manage the Moisture
Mold can grow quickly in the winter months due to excess moisture in your home.
Aside from being unsightly, mold can cause a wide range of health problems including rashes, itchy eyes, and breathing difficulties. Make sure to clean up any wet areas promptly to prevent mold build-up inside your home. It is also a good idea to repair any leaks that may add to the amount of moisture in your home.
Try to keep the humidity in your home below 60%. You can use a dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture in the air. Keeping the humidity low when it is cold outside will also help to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of windows. If you notice mold in your home, contact a mold removal company immediately.
Check Your Detectors
Smoke detectors are one of the most important safety features in your home.
You should have smoke detectors installed in all bedrooms as well as in common areas such as the kitchen, living room, and hallway. This is especially important in winter if you have a fireplace in your home. The heating from the fireplace could cause a fire and the fire can quickly spread through the home undetected.
Similarly, a carbon monoxide detector can save your life by alerting you to the presence of this odorless gas. Carbon monoxide is produced by combustion appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide poisoning is very dangerous and can lead to unconsciousness and death.
Be sure to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year and replace any outdated detectors. Conduct a drill with your family so that everyone knows what to do when one of the alarms go off.
Preparing your home for the coming cold weather may seem like a bit of a chore but it is well worth the effort. Be sure to have your heating and ventilation systems maintained and the insulation around the house thoroughly examined. A little bit of preparation can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe during the chilly winter months. Once all the preparations have been made, you can relax and enjoy the best parts of the holiday season!