stocking feet in front of the fireplace Although the winter season has officially arrived, we have yet to see its full effects in Connecticut. Now is the perfect time to make sure your home is prepared for cold temperatures, snowstorms and ice. What should you be checking around the house?

Avoid Frozen Pipes

Uninsulated pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures may have standing water that freezes. The ice expands inside the pipe, which can cause it to burst and flood areas of your home. Pipes should be insulated, especially in seasonal homes. If you will be away from a property for long periods of time, keep the thermostat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit and prop open the cabinets to circulate warm airflow to indoor piping.

Check Your Detectors

While smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked once a month, it’s especially important in the winter when the oven, stovetop, fireplace and heating system are used more often. Keep your family and pets safe from an unexpected fire or the silent killer of CO poisoning with regular checks.

  • Test Smoke Detector: Press and hold the test button until you hear a loud siren sound. If the siren is quiet or doesn’t sound at all, replace the batteries.
  • Test CO Detector: Press and hold the test button until two beeps sound. Repeat until you hear four beeps. If all six beeps do not sound, it’s time to change the batteries.

Inspect the Insulation

Unfortunately, a common place for pests to nest in your home is the attic, crawlspace or wall insulation. When they tear through this building material, your home becomes exposed to heat loss. Whether the insulation has been affected by pests or general wear and tear, replace it with new material to prevent higher heating bills.

Be Prepared for Weather

Living in Connecticut, we are used to snow and ice storms – but that doesn’t mean we’re always ready for them. Before a storm is expected to hit, test your generator and have a couple survival kits on hand for the house and car. The kit should include items like bottled water, non-perishable food, batteries, blankets, an extra cell phone and charger, flashlights and First Aid supplies.

Protect the Roof

Make sure heavy snow is removed from the roof before it causes serious damage or ice dams form. When gutters are clogged with debris, melted snow is unable to drain off the roof, forming ice dams at the edge of the roof. Clearing snow off the roof too soon may not get the full job done, while waiting too long can wreak havoc on your home’s structural integrity. Snow accumulation can also lead to leaks and water damage in the home.

Chimney Maintenance

When the weather outside is frightful, a warm fireplace can be a comforting home feature. However, if you fail to have the chimney cleaned and inspected before your first fire, you could be putting the home and its occupant in danger. Creosote, a chemical buildup from previous wood-burning, animal nests and other debris can lead to a serious house fire.

Drain the Water Heater

Over time, sediment can build up inside the tank of your water heater. This can lead to decreased performance, higher energy bills and a lower life expectancy for the heater. Homeowners have two choices: Drain some water from the heater every year or upgrade to a tankless water heater. These efficient appliances are compact, have an endless supply of warm water and no tank!

By Carrier is a leading custom home builder in Connecticut. If you’re house hunting in 2019, tour one of our energy-efficient communities!

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