How good is your home heating system? Does it warm up the whole house on a cold day? Does it cost more than you think it should to get enough heat in the winter? Are you thinking about switching to an alternative heating system? Do you want to upgrade to a newer heating system? I started this blog to talk about the different alternatives for heating your home. Find out when it’s time to upgrade your heating unit and when you can make modifications or repairs to your old unit to improve its efficiency or keep it going a while longer. Also, check out the pros and cons of different alternative heating options from geothermal units to pellet stoves. Your home heating answers are here!
Heavy snow and icy roads present their own unique problems for homeowners, many of which are easily avoidable with the proper precautions. By late fall, if you haven't already taken steps to winterize your home, you stand the risk of burst pipes, falling tree limbs and frozen driveways. With a thorough appraisal of your yard and home, and a bit of preparation, you can avoid those dangers and spend more time enjoying the snow than bemoaning it.
Enduring the Snow Load
Look around your house and its immediate vicinity. Count the number of trees that are close enough to shade your home, overhang power lines, or which have unhealthy looking limbs. Each of these presents a danger to you, your home and your family if the weight of snow outpaces the tree's ability to support it. Make sure that you're trimming any low hanging branches that might cause problems if they fall, especially those that dangle above your roof.
In addition to falling tree limbs, your roof itself should be inspected. Have a contractor make certain that the structure will be capable of supporting a substantial load, and make sure you know how recently your roofing has been replaced. If you're due for a new roof, consider including an ice shield under your shingles to protect your home from damage due to refreezing snow-melt.
Preparing Your Home
Especially important for homes with exposed pipes or long driveways, making sure your home is winterized will go a long way toward preventing much of the misery that comes from winter weather. Pipes should be insulated, whether they are water lines or sewer lines, to prevent their contents from freezing in the cold temperatures. Crawlspaces are particularly vulnerable, and will need more than a simple pipe-wrap to protect your plumbing.
Your driveway, walkway and front step can be hazardous in the winter as well, either to you or your vehicle. Make sure snow is cleared immediately to reveal any hidden hazards. To keep ice from forming in the first place, you can also consider using porous concrete to improve drainage as snow melts. Clearing the snow from the surface will help, but run-off from other sources can still cause problems. If you need assistance with this, you may want to consider snow removal services from a company like Vintage Lawn.
Being prepared for winter's chill can go far beyond just shoveling your front steps and clearing your driveway. Winter brings a number of other threats too, so make sure you're ready for them well ahead of the first freeze.