Winter Tips to Help the Home


Idaho is a great place to live. Many people, however, think to fix problems in their home only when they become a problem. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent emergency- especially in the winter months. By tweaking things throughout the year, homeowners can buy themselves piece of mind and save money in the long run just by taking steps to keep up with home wear and tear. Not only does this keep the stress at bay, but it allows for a safer home and more enjoyable winter season. Insulating the water tank in the home can be a great way to not only save energy, but can also make sure that in case of emergency, the water does not have a chance to freeze. On occasion, power outages in the winter can last for a fair amount of time. If the water heater is not properly cared for, it's possible for it to freeze which can cause other problems. To prevent this from happening and to help save a few bucks on utilities, there are several options available from pre-cut sleeves to insulated blankets. This tip is mainly needed on older water heaters. Newer models typically come pre-insulated, so the best way to tell if the heater needs some insulation is by touching the outside metal. If it is pretty warm, then it needs some extra help.

Another important thing to keep up on is making sure that the faucets, pipes, and water tank are leak free. Many people continue to use their sinks and other such appliances even if there is a slight leak or drip. This can cause big problems later on down the line and often is an indication of a small, easy fix upfront. By keeping ahead on the wear and tear of daily living, homeowners can save themselves a lot of grief that can come from what was initially a small problem. Additionally, if a storm rolls in, there is less likelihood that plumbing will cause a problem or that an emergency will coincidentally pop up during a time of great stress.

One of the best ways to avoid an emergency is preventative care. Snow can pile pretty high, as is evidenced by the weather in the valley this winter. Check the roof tiles and make sure none are loose or broken. Fixing them during the warmer months can not only prevent leaks during rainy seasons, but can help to prevent leaks and cave ins during the winter. Many people are having to make repairs and call for roofers to come help out due to leaks and such. Regularly repairing the roof can add years onto the life of one of a home's most costly and important assets, so it is definitely worth saving up those pennies to check up on and fix small things up front.

Speaking of roofing, during the winter is one of the most important times to take care of the outside of your home. While it may not be the activity on the top of the entertainment list, keeping up with winter's nasty tricks can save hundreds of dollars and many calls to the insurance company. One of the most dangerous things that can wreak havoc on a building is an ice dam. These pesky winter problems are caused by the warm air in the attic heating up the snow on the roof causing it to melt and slip down the roof. Once it hits the eaves of the house, the water freezes again. Enough of this happening can cause a buildup of water that needs to go somewhere. When it can no longer go forward, it tries to go down. This causes leaks and puddles in the house that may seem like they are appearing out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, when water gets to the point where it's visibly leaking into the home, there is likely water damage that needs to be taken care of in the attic and insulation to prevent mold and mildew. Ice dams may not always be preventable, but often times there are things that can be done to try to prevent them from causing too much damage.

Using the tips to stop ice dams can also be used to help make sure that the weight of snow and icicles doesn't build up to the point of tearing off shingles and gutters. One way to try to stave off winter weather damage is to install heated cables on the roof in an even pattern before weather hits. These range in price, but they can be found for under $100 at some stores. It's probably a good idea to measure the length needed before heading out, then doubling or tripling the footage to allow for extra wire to use in a zigzagging pattern. Another option is to use a rake specifically for scooping snow off of the roof. This makes sure that the amount of snow that stays on the roof doesn't add to the problem by insulating snow from earlier snow falls. The more snow on the roof, the more likely it is that an ice dam will form. This technique can be done from the ground, so there's no need to get up on the slippery roof. One final idea is to fill pantyhoes with rock salt or de-icer and lay them where the ice dams will form. This can break up the large sections and help prevent future damage, though it's important to note that this is not a long-term solution. There are many other ways to prevent and minimize damage from ice dams, but these are a few techniques that are often used. Do not get on the roof and chisel away at ice dams as that can cause more problems and could crack or take off roof tiles.

Living in a place with set seasons can be a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors, but it can be a bit tricky to deal with the different seasons without preparation. Make the most of your Boise home by keeping up with the preventative measures so that each season will bring with it a sense of awe instead of a sense of dread.

Sources

https://energy.gov/energysaver/projects/savings-project-insulate-your-water-heater-tank

http://your.nationwide.co.uk/your-news/articles/Pages/Protect-your-home-against-the-cold-weather.aspx

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-ice-dams#mid-7