How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

As the weather starts cooling down and we begin to approach winter, we should take certain steps to protect our homes from damage during a freeze. No one wants to have to deal with a frozen or burst pipe ruining their day—or their property. Luckily, there are steps that we can take to make sure that freezing temperatures have less of an effect on our homes. Read on for advice to help you prepare your home for winter.

Prepare Your Home For Winter From The Outside In

Clean out your gutters and point the downspouts so that water will flow away from the foundation of your home.

If you have tree branches hanging over your home, clear them away. If snow starts accumulating on them, the branches will become weighed down and heavy and can break off causing damage to your house.

Take Care of Your Windows

Check the weatherstripping around your windows and doors to make sure that it is secure because gaps around the frames will allow cold air to come inside. If needed, try applying self-sticking weatherstripping to make sure your windows are tightly sealed. Making sure there’s a close seal around all of your windows and doors is an important step to prepare your home for winter that will also help lower your energy bills.

Protect Your Pipes

No matter how new your home is, you’ll want to pay special attention to your water lines, especially those that are in your attic or in crawl spaces. Figure out which of your pipes could be exposed to freezing temperatures and give them an extra level of protection. You can opt to use heat tape that senses the temperature and turns on and off on its own or heat tape that needs to be plugged in. If you decide to go with the latter, plug in the heat tape and check whether or not it’s working. Heat tape can be dangerous, so be sure to read the instructions and follow all of the necessary safety precautions. If your crawl spaces have vents, close them up for the season to keep the drafts from chilling your pipes.

Use a Humidifier and Adjust It According to the Temperature

Choose humidifiers that auto-regulate to reset the level of humidity based on the temperature outside. This can help keep frost from forming since the humidity level will be lowered when it’s colder outside and returned to normal when the weather is better. A normal level of humidity is somewhere around 35% to 45%. When temperatures drop down to single digits, however, set your humidifiers to 20%.

Let Your Faucets Drip

When the temperatures plunge into freezing, prepare your home for winter by keeping a tiny bit of water dripping from your faucets. This keeps water flowing through your pipes, which will help relieve the pressure and keep them from freezing over.

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Control Mold Growth In Your Home

Control Mold Growth In Your Home

Water Damage? 6 Tips to Control Mold Growth In Your Home

If you’ve got any water coming into your home due to a broken pipe or flooding, mold growth is a major concern. It only takes a little bit of moisture for mold to grow and cause an enormous amount of damage to your house. All that’s needed is water and a lack of light. You may not even know that mold is present, which is why having a professional mold inspection is always a good idea.

Porous materials, like your carpet or rugs, are particularly susceptible to mold growth. If you have a moisture or water problem, you’ll want to start the cleanup process as quickly as you can so you don’t end up with significant mold growth. Cleaning up the water is a job you can tackle yourself; it’s just going to take a fair amount of work to make sure you get rid of it.

Dry the Area Right Away

Use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up as much water as you can. This piece of equipment is going to be the best way to get rid of excess water. You can likely find a place to rent one if you don’t have one of your own.

Put High-Speed Fans to Use

Using fans can help speed up the process of drying the wet area, but it’s still going to take a few days or more, depending on the amount of water that collected in your home. Even when you believe that the area is dry, it likely isn’t – let your fans run all day and night for another week at the least once your carpet feels dry to the touch. The fans do double-duty, as they’ll also keep the air circulating.

Use a Dehumidifier to Help You Dry the Room

Dehumidifiers help to eliminate excess moisture. This will dry out the air and the floor. It will also make the air seem more cool, which will inhibit the growth of mold.

Bring Out a Steam Cleaner

You’ll want to steam clean all carpeted areas. If your carpet or rug pads are damaged by water, you’ll need to replace them—while this is an expense, it’s not nearly as costly as replacing all rugs and carpets throughout your home.

Sanitize Everything That Was Soaked in Storm Water

Put on your rubber gloves and begin by cleaning your walls, floors without carpet, and other surfaces with a mixture of soap and water. The next step is to sanitize your surfaces using a solution of one and a half cups of bleach for each gallon of water.

Examine Furniture for Water Damage

If you see any water damage, move furniture off of the wet or damp floors. It’s easy for water damage to be concealed below carpets or rugs, so be sure to inspect these areas. You may need a professional home inspection in order to be certain that your home is free from mold and structurally sound. If you’re in Oakland, Wayne or Livingston counties in southeast Michigan, please contact American Home Inspection Services today for your inspection needs!

For more information on the dangers of mold in your home, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.