As the cold weather approaches staying safe during the winter months requires taking steps now to winterize our homes and businesses to help prepare when the cold, wind, ice, and snow comes our way. Since November is Winter Weather Preparedness month and a good time to get ready.
Get ready now for winter conditions for your family, home, and business. Severe cold temperatures, strong winds and snow can cause additional hazards, so it’s important to stay informed.
Ice damming occurs when gutter and downspout systems become blocked and will not drain properly. It is one of the leading causes of expensive water damage claims during the winter months. While we are enjoying the colors of autumn, we need to be sure that our gutters are clean and free from the falling leaves and debris to help the rain and melting snow flow freely to avoid water damage. Of course, if you will be doing this yourself, it will likely require the use of ladders, so be safe with your ladder:
- Make sure your ladder is in good condition
- Always maintain three points of contact (both hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand)
- Make sure you do not have the base the ladder too close or too far away from the side of the house to avoid tipping.
- Consider hiring a professional company to clean your gutters and/or install holiday lighting
Even if you have frost proof outdoor faucets, be sure to disconnect your hose and put it away for the winter. We also want to remind homeowners as well as building/business owners to prevent frozen pipes, make sure that warm air is circulating throughout your home or office and pipes are properly insulated. It may be worthwhile to invest in an emergency generator to keep the building warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing in the event of a power outage.
Inspect your pipes for any drips or leaks as well as corrosion. If you see any signs of potential problems, be sure and reach out to a licensed plumber.
Winter Fire Hazards
The winter months are always a time to exercise extra caution due to the use of candles, fireplaces, light strings, extension cords, and cooking. While we do not recommend using space heaters, when you do be sure they are UL certified, have an automatic shut off, are never left unattended, and placed at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet. These are all common sources of house fires, especially during the holidays.
Indoor Air Quality
With the added demand on furnaces and boilers, it is important to be sure to have working carbon monoxide detectors and test them regularly to protect your indoor air quality and prevent against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating system that could be hazardous to your health. Have your boiler/furnace inspected and serviced regularly to avoid the potential for a puff back and make sure all natural gas appliances have proper ventilation.
Never use your gas stove or oven to heat your home. It could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Understand the dangers and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.