Protect Your Home This Winter

these items are non negotiable…protect your investment!

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This Picture Does the Icicle No Justice

Last winter was absolutely brutal. We handle a lot of real estate & if one thing is certain extreme cold is not your homes friend. Trust when I tell you that you should do these things; if not all, at least one, two, three & four.

1. drain & insulate any pipes near the cold

Pipes don’t like cold. They freeze, they thaw & than they can crack. They don’t even have to be outside. Do you have a house with a kitchen in the back & the sink is up against the exterior wall? How about your washer dryer? Does your water main run right up the front of your home in an unfinished basement maybe near a window? You might want to consider insulating those pipes. Know where your water main is & how to shut it off. If you have PEX plumbing label the lines. Builders rarely do it. Obviously you need to shut off your outside water. Once you shut it off drain it completely (for home owner newbies open the spigot all the way so ALL the water is out), store your hose & install a faucet insulator. Sure, a cracked garden hose pipe can cause damage outside but the pipe that feeds that hose is inside where it can do damage to the interior of your home behind a wall (those are pricey fixes).

Pipes most at risk:

  • Pipes by exterior walls
  • Exposed pipes in unheated areas (crawl spaces, attics, garages & basements)
  • Exterior plumbing

2. check your gutters

Last year the apartment building next to me must have had cracked gutters. There was the largest most solid icicle I have ever seen.  I was terrified that it was going to warm up slightly, start to melt & impale someone on the sidewalk. You don’t want to impale a neighbor. Clean your gutters out & fix any cracked, broken or loose spots. Make sure they are in good shape & try to look up periodically through the winter & ensure none have broken due to heavy snow, ice etc.

3. get your HVAC serviced NOW

It costs like $150 to get your HVAC serviced & on a plan. Know what that means? As a customer you take precedence over random service calls if your HVAC system does crap out when its 5 degrees out. Your plumber will also be familiar with your HVAC systems make & model for replacement parts. As a third point if you ever plan to sell your home buyers LOVE houses with an HVAC system that has been consistently serviced. It’s one of the most important & expensive mechanical systems in your home. Don’t be penny wise & dollar foolish.

4. check your roof

If you have a flat roof you want to look for any spots that are sagging or feel soft & ponding of water. Snow can be very heavy. You want to make sure your roof is in good shape & can carry the extra burden.

5. winterize vacant property

Any real estate you own that will not be lived in over the winter should be winterized. Period.

6. working fireplace?

If you have a wood fireplace you want to get the chimney/flue inspected & cleaned especially if you don’t think it’s been inspected in awhile. If you have a gas fireplace you may want to get that serviced as well. Also, stock up on wood! Is there anything better than a fire on a cold night or a snow day? Phil’s Firewood delivers to our home & Phil might just be the nicest guy anywhere.