Winter Preparation Tips for PNW Homeowners
As the days grow shorter and cooler, getting your home ready for the winter weather to come is essential. Your home is your biggest asset. Therefore, you should take winter prep very seriously. Here are a few tips from your SERVPRO of Bend restoration experts.
- Prevent ice dams. Anyone who lived through the snowpocalypse of 2017 knows how costly ice dams can be. If your home typically gets icicles, that’s a red flag of possible trouble ahead. Consider adding heat tape (also known as heat cables or de-icing cables). When installed correctly, the heat tape will cause snow to melt from the roof’s edges, so it can flow down into gutters and away from your home.
- Clear gutters and check for proper fastening. One of the best ways to prevent costly water damage repair and leaks is by clearing gutters of debris. During the fall, leaves and pine needles fall, which is left, can create a blockage that can hold water and freeze. One of the biggest culprits for ice dam formation is a frozen gutter. While you’re at it, ensure your gutters and downspouts are correctly fastened and resecure them if loose. Act now to prevent it from becoming an issue when the snow starts to fly.
- Clear the roof. While you’re on your roof cleaning out your gutters, go ahead and clear off any debris from the roof and replace warped, damaged, loose, or missing shingles that can leak during the winter.
- Divert water away from your home. If you have gutters, consider adding extensions to your downspouts to divert water farther away from your home. We recommend that water be diverted five feet from your foundation.
- Change the filters in your home. Every spring and fall (or at the onset of daylight savings time starting and ending) is the perfect time to change the filters in your home.
- Clean dryer vents twice a year. Again, following a spring/fall schedule, clean your dryer vent to reduce the risk of a dryer fire. Clogged dryer vents are one of the biggest causes of house fires and the need for costly fire damage remediation.
- Reverse your ceiling fans. Save money on your utility bill by reversing the direction of your ceiling fan’s blades. Doing so will push warm air down from the ceiling, creating energy efficiency and comfort during the cool winter months.
- Service your heating system. Ensure you stay warm this winter by having a professional come out to inspect and service your furnace or heat pump. Don’t risk being one of the homeowners waiting for someone to repair their furnace on the coldest day of the year.
- Insulate your crawlspace. Install vent covers on the exterior of all vents in your home. In Central Oregon, most people use styrofoam vent plugs which are very easy to install.
- Put insulated covers on spigots. Disconnect all your garden hoses and drain water from your faucets. Place insulated covers on your spigots to prevent them from freezing this winter. If your spigot isn’t frost-proof, you can switch the shut-off valve inside your home.
- Blow out your irrigation system. If you haven’t already, make blowing out your irrigation system a priority asap. Better yet, hire a professional to drain water from your drip lines to prevent freezing, and costly repairs come spring.
- Replace smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries. Replace batteries every six months to ensure your alarms are in working order in the event of a fire.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. If you notice drafts or light entering your home from windows and doors, caulk the inside and out of windows to prevent warm air from escaping and cool air from entering your home. If you find leaks around your doors, replace weatherstripping.
This fall, take the time to ensure your home is ready for winter. Doing so will help you avoid damage and costly repairs. Take care of your biggest asset by spending a weekend getting your home prepared for the winter weather to come.