Utah Winters Can Be Hard On Your Home
Utah can have some pretty rough winters. The cold and the snow do a real number on homes if you don’t prepare for it. What can you do as a homeowner to keep your home in good condition? Here’s what Alpine Cleaning and Restoration, a company in Cache Valley, has to say about it.
1. Insulate your Pipes
One of the worst things that can happen to your homes is freezing pipes. It’s really annoying to wake up on a cold morning and go to take a hot shower, only to have nothing come out of the shower-head. It can get worse than just mere annoyance, though. When water freezes, it expands. Sometimes, if your pipes freeze, they’ll burst. When they thaw, you’ll end up with water spilling all over your home. Water damage is the gift that keeps on giving, because the longer it sits, the more damage it does. If your pipes burst and flood your home, you have to get it cleaned up quickly, and that can be difficult in the winter.
To avoid this, add some form of insulation to your pipes, and to the attics or crawl spaces they run through. Try and keep your heat running at at least 55 degrees in your house overnight. Running a slight trickle of water can also help prevent bursts. It may not stop the pipes from freezing, but it relieves the pressure build-up from freezes.
2. Clear Out Your Rain Gutters
While Utah can have some extremely cold days during the winter, the actual temperature can fluctuate quite a bit over the winter months. This means you can count on a lot of snow melting and running down your roof. If you have clogged cutters, the water is going to fill up the gutters and splash over onto the ground. This creates ice patches you might slip on. It might spill water into your home, causing water damage. Or it might freeze in the gutters, creating enough weight to pull them loose. To avoid this, clean out your gutters. Putting some wire mesh over the tops will keep debris out of the gutters, but let water in, making it so much easier to keep them clean.
3. Check the Weather Stripping On Your House
It’s not just your pipes that need insulation; your home needs it, too. The EPA estimates that not having a properly sealed and insulated home can raise your energy bill by as much as 15%. That’s a pretty big increase you don’t need. Check the weather stripping around your doors and windows to make sure it’s in good condition and replace it if it isn’t. The attic and basement are areas of houses that are often most subject to insulation problems. Check around wiring holes, plumbing ducts, and basement rim joists for any drafts. If you feel one, try and find the spot where the cold air is coming from and seal it with some caulk.
4. Inspect the Chimney
There’s nothing quite like a cozy fire on a cold, snowy day. Just make sure your chimney is clean, though. Burning wood creates a lot of byproducts and as they get funneled out the chimney, they leave a residue called creosote. This substance is highly flammable and if your chimney isn’t properly cleaned, it can catch fire. The problem is that the fire usually isn’t easy to notice. There isn’t enough oxygen in the chimney for it to produce visible flames, but it still burns super hot and can do serious damage to your chimney. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected or cleaned recently, you probably should before you go starting any fires.
5. Be Wary of Space Heaters
If you live in an older house with a poor heating and ventilation system, it can be hard keeping your place warm. Some people turn to space heaters to make up the difference. Be careful with this, though. Space heaters are the number one cause of house fires in winter. Space Heaters have to get very hot to make a whole room warm. Anything flammable left too near one is likely to catch fire. If there’s a short circuit, the components of the space heater itself might catch fire, too. Avoid using space heaters if you can. If you must use them, never leave them running when you leave a room. If anything goes wrong and you’re not there, the fire they cause can get out of control before you can stop it.
Let It Snow
We’re not Alaska or northern Minnesota. Here in Utah, the winters aren’t spectacularly bad, but we do get a few days of pretty extreme cold compared to the rest of the season. It’s not too hard to get through a Utah winter, but it does take a little preparation if you want to be sure you have no problems. Our list of tips can be a really good way to make sure your home stays in good condition through the whole season. If you follow them, you should be just fine.