Climate change is altering our seasons. Summers are getting hotter, and winters are getting colder which means that we need to start preparing for extreme cold, especially if you live in a northern state. What do you need to do to make your home when, as Ned Stark so iconically stated, winter is coming?
Have Your Furnace Serviced
You’ll be relying on your furnace to keep you warm during the colder winter months, so the last thing you want is for it to break down when it’s below freezing.
Before temperatures start dropping, have your furnace inspected and if necessary serviced by a professional. A little bit of preventative maintenance can save you from freezing during the winter.
During the rest of the year, keep up with the essential furnace maintenance. Change out your filters, and check the visible portions of your furnace for any signs of problems that could take your heating unit offline when you need it the most.
Protect Your Pipes
The pipes that bring water into your home are probably the most vulnerable parts of your home when the temperature drops. Frozen pipes can crack, pouring icy water into your home and causing hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage.
Start by taking a close look at your exterior pipes and make sure that they’re all adequately insulated. Don’t forget to check the pipes in the unheated areas of your home, like garages and basements, which are just as vulnerable.
For exterior faucets and taps, remove any hoses and empty them before you store them for the season. Even if the valve is insulated, the tube is not and can freeze, causing damage.
Drop the Interior Temperature
When the mercury falls, it’s tempting to crank up the heat to stay warm, but this could lead to a furnace failure. Your furnace will have to work even harder to keep the interior warm, and it might not be able to keep up with the temperature changes. Drop the thermostat to 68 or below if you can handle the cold or don’t mind layering up to keep your furnace from burning out or driving up your electric or gas bill during the winter months.
Have a Backup Plan
Your furnace can only keep you warm while it has power or fuel, so if you run out of gas or the electricity fails you’ll need to have a backup plan to keep your house warm.
If you’ve got a fireplace, this can provide heat, but you need to make sure to have your chimney serviced before you need it. A clogged vent can be a fire hazard and can cause smoke to build up in your home.
Consider keeping a generator or two in your garage, and use those to power things like space heaters if the power goes out.
Of course, you also need to make sure you have plenty of warm clothes that you can layer up because if push comes to shove, that will be your best way to stay warm.
Once you’ve finished all your prep, all that you have left to do is sit back and enjoy the beautiful winter weather. Stay warm!