5 Questions: Winter home care
Bob Didier, vice chairman of National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s marketing and communications committee, offers tips that can help homeowners protect their homes this winter and prevent minor trouble spots from becoming major repairs.
Q: What should be done outside the house to prepare for winter?
A: Didier recommends clearing leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Blockages in gutters and drain spouts can result in ice damming, or internal water problems causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls. Inspect your home for cracks or holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes, and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snow melt from seeping in.
Q: What about indoors?
A: Check your water pipes for cracks and leaks, and have them repaired immediately. Wrap exposed pipes with heating tape to keep them from freezing.
Q: What should I know about freezing pipes?
A: Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence — the faster you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
Q: I like to keep my house cool and my heating bill low. Is there a problem with that?
A: Even if you want to keep your heat bill low when you’re not at home, it’s best to keep your thermostat at a minimum of 65 degrees to avoid freezing.
Q: Any other tips?
A: Check to see that your smoke and fire alarms are working properly, and service your heating systems annually. Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems and heating systems.