The winter season has a reputation for taking a toll on people’s health and well-being. Among the numerous effects of freezing temperature are dry skin, sedentary behavior, hypothermia, frostbite, and even heart problems. Individuals typically prevent these by wearing several layers of clothing and staying inside their houses.
But besides your health, your home’s condition can also be affected by that cold weather or freezing temperature. Winter can cause ice dams on your roof, cracked caulks on your windows, plumbing problems, and chips on your driveway. The worst part is, freezing temperatures can make your house uncomfortable and unsafe to live in.
Explore how you can protect your house from the harsh winter storms and emergencies in this list.
- Have your furnace checked
Before the cold sets in, you need to ensure your heater is functional well. If you’re not familiar with checking heating systems, it’s safer to call a local furnace repair technician who can perform a professional inspection and repair. These experts can guarantee proper maintenance or fixes to your home’s heating equipment, preventing further issues when winter comes. They can check if your equipment is working efficiently and promoting clean indoor air. But if you’re up for it, there are a few tasks that you can DIY. You can replace the air filters regularly, clean the heat exchanger, test the igniter switch, lubricate the blower motor, and inspect your carbon monoxide detectors.
- Inspect for leaks and drafts
In some cases, energy companies perform home energy audits for their clients. But if yours doesn’t, it’s best to do it yourself or hire a third-party company to perform it. This assessment allows you to check your current energy consumption and the solutions to make the house more energy-efficient. Among the major causes of inefficiency are leaks and drafts. They make their way inside through cracks in your windows, doors, and walls, leading to inefficient heating and high energy costs.
You can seal these leaks and drafts using weatherstripping, foam, or caulk. Or, you can add insulation in your home to better prevent heat loss. Other techniques you can try are installing storm doors, using bubble wrap of rarely used windows, and covering pet doors or mail slots with insulation.
- Create a long-term food pantry
Blizzards and snowstorms can lead to zero visibility, making it impossible to go out or drive. In times when you cannot get on the road, you need to have a stock of non-perishable food and water enough for everyone in the house. Weeks before the cold months, start creating a long-term pantry to avoid rushing to grocery stores for your essentials. The earlier you start, the more you can save. You can buy on sales and create a food budget.
Buy ready-to-eat meals that typically require extra water and a heat source to prepare. But since they are usually more costly, you can stick to raw ingredients if you have a limited budget.
Examples of food items to include in your pantry are protein and trail mix bars, pickled vegetables, instant soup mixes and pasta, canned fruit, meats and vegetables, rice, dried pies and beans, whole-grain crackers, and breakfast cereal. If you have a baby or a pet, ensure they also have food in the pantry. As for the water, each family member should have at least one gallon of water for drinking and sanitation. You can buy water storage cubes that you can use to stock water in the pantry.
- Build a winter weather kit
Staying at home is one of the top recommendations during wintertime. However, it’s still important that you’re prepared for emergencies. Your winter emergency kit should include non-perishable food such as protein bars, water wrapped in blankets (to avoid freezing), towels and blankets, cash, battery-operated flashlights, and a first aid kit. As for your extra clothes, it’s best to pack ones that’ll help you survive winter storms. These include waterproofing clothing, socks, gloves, and hats.
You may also consider keeping some winter weather tools such as a small shovel and ice scraper on your car, in case you get stuck while you’re outside driving. Other handy necessities to have are extra batteries, manual can opener, emergency phone chargers, and personal care products.
A home in bad condition cannot protect you from the chilly weather. In other words, you’ll find it hard to stay warm even when you’re in the comfort of your home. By following these tips, you protect your home from structural problems and expensive repairs. Be sure to work with local contractors for risky tasks such as fixing roof leaks or checking the furnace to avoid further problems.