Fall in Western Colorado is spectacular, as trees turn to auburn and the first snow makes its appearance on the surrounding mountains.
But fall also means that winter is coming. Even without any White Walkers, who are refreshingly rare in Colorado, winter still offers plenty of challenges. Who needs the Others when your pipes have burst, your house is flooding, and your chimney’s on fire?
Before cold weather settles in permanently, fall is the perfect time to winter-proof your home. There are several steps that a homeowner can take to winterize their home, thus limiting incidents of floods or freeze. Thankfully, none of these require building a massive wall made of ice. Instead, you should:
- Clean your gutters and drains
- Service your water heater and boiler
- Insulate pipes to prevent freezing
- Check your chimney and fireplace
- Inspect trees and check for loose tree branches
- Drain the exterior water hoses of any water
- Close your foundation vents
Clean Your Gutters and Drains
Flooding occurs if drains and gutters are clogged and blocked and water accumulates in dangerous levels before finding somewhere to seep through.
Now is the time to clean your gutters and drains from leaves, branches, and debris. Once the tree leaves have fallen completely, make sure you clean all your gutters, starting from the roof down. When you winter-proof your home, check your drains so that rainwater flows freely and unobstructed.
Service Your Water Heater and Boiler
Your water heater and your boiler will be in high demand during winter. Have them both serviced in fall so that you don’t find yourself needing a plumber in the middle of a snowstorm.
A plumber will ensure that the wiring and connections of the boiler are clean. They will also cleanse the system throughout and check your radiators and the valves. As for your water heater, they will check the valves for sediments and minerals left there by the water.
A poorly-serviced water heater or boiler can cause serious flood in houses and result in extensive restoration services to repair the damage. Add servicing them to your list of winter-proof tasks.
Insulate Pipes to Prevent Freezing
If you have any exterior pipes or pipes that might be exposed to the elements, this is the perfect time to insulate them. Frozen pipes can burst due to the expansion of the water inside them, as it turns into ice. As soon as they thaw, they will cause flooding and damage to your house.
Check Your Chimney and Fireplace
There is nothing cozier than a fireplace keeping us warm during cold winter evenings. However, chimneys and fireplaces need to be serviced and cleaned to prevent fire danger and smoke inside the house.
Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney. Whenever you light up your fireplace, soot builds up inside the chimney. This grimy substance is actually called creosote and is produced when burning wood. The more you use your fireplace, the more of it sticks to the inside walls of the chimney, making it dangerously flammable. If the temperature inside the chimney increases, the creosote can catch fire, followed by your whole chimney and putting your entire house at risk.
By having your chimney and fireplace regularly serviced, cleaned, and maintained, you have peace of mind that your house is as safe as can be.
Inspect Trees and Check for Loose Tree Branches
Tree branches can cut power lines as the wind sways them. They may also lean against your roof or a window. Fall is the best time to trim trees and loose branches to make sure they do not pose any risk.
Remember that wind gusts can make trees and branches shake vigorously, so make sure there is enough space between the trees and parts of your home. Winter-proof your home by ensuring that any falling branches stay at a safe distance from your roof or walls.
Drain the Exterior Water Hoses of Water, so They Don’t Freeze
Winters in Colorado are harsh and temperatures can often fall below freezing. If you have exterior water hoses that you can’t roll into the house, fall is a great time to drain them of water, so that no water freezes inside them. That way, your hose and pipe will be safe from bursting.
Close Foundation Vents
Foundation vents are usually kept open in summer to bring in fresh air while they are closed in winter when you don’t want cool air underneath your home floor. If your home has foundation vents, remember to close them as the weather turns cooler. Not only will this protect the pipes inside the crawl space from freezing, but it will also save you money in the form of lower gas and electricity bills.
Winter-Proof Your Home
Fall is a great time to winter-proof your home. Taking the small steps described above can make a big difference in keeping your home safe from flooding or fire.
However, if a disaster does occur, feel safe in the knowledge that a trustworthy restoration company is standing by you to fix the damage and return to you your beautiful home in pristine condition.