No matter where you live, you are probably well aware of how dangerous and unpredictable the winter season can be. Every new winter brings its share of surprise snowstorms, hail, wind, and all sorts of nasty weather. Here are a few tips to prepare for the unknown, to help you stay safe and keep your home secure during winter.
It is best to start early, before the weather gets too cold; preparation is always preferable in winterizing your home. Paying close attention to detail will ensure that you do not find yourself in trouble during the worst of the coming weather. Remember the last winter and think of what you wished you had done; that will guide your decisions in winterizing this year.
Start by examining the outside of your home. Make sure that your windows and doors are properly sealed to maximize insulation. Some caulk here and there to cover little holes can make a world of difference when the freezing wind is blowing. Replace any windowpanes that are cracked; a strong wind could crack them further and cause real damage. Close any vents to the foundation of your home. If you have an older home, you may want to check the whole foundation to make sure there are no faults in it that might allow cold air in. Check your roof, making sure that the pipes are sealed and secure, and the shingles are properly configured.
When you are finished with the outside of your home, do a check on the inside. To verify whether they are sufficiently wind-proof, hold a lit candle around the seals of all of your windows and doors, preferably during a windy day. Visually inspect your doorframes, making sure that no light comes through the edges; if necessary, apply weatherstripping around the edges to finish the seal. Invest in hiring an HVAC company to inspect your furnace and ductwork; they will be able to clean it and give you an expert opinion on anything that needs to be replaced or repaired.
Finally, prepare a winter kit in case of emergency. Keep a stock of lights (flashlights and batteries, candles and matches), non-perishable food (canned soup, crackers, dried fruits, and nuts), a battery-operated radio, and warm blankets in an easily-accessible, centrally-located closet or room. You may also want to invest in a small back-up generator if you expect power outages. Following these tips will help you to maintain home security, minimize risk during the winter, and protect you in a worst-case scenario. Be safe, and stay warm!