A Mom’s Guide to Prepping the Home for Winter
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Across the US, hypothermia claims over 700 lives annually, with most deaths occurring during the cold months of winter. In that line, the lessening hours of daylight should be a signal to start getting ready for the cold days ahead. Most moms prefer that their loved ones remain indoors during winter, but is staying inside a guarantee of safety? For instance, if you fail to prepare the heating system, your children could easily contract flu or even the dreaded hypothermia. Furthermore, neglecting your winter chores could potentially cost you a hefty repair bill. For first time moms, preparing for winter can be baffling, but with proper research and guidance, you can manage.
The cleaning of gutters and downspouts are among the most important winter chores. Clogged drains can make your roof leak, and this could lead to ice dams during winter. “When the gutters are not clean, the moisture just sits on the rooftop,” said Dina Dwyer Owens, a co-chair of the board of directors of the Dwyer group. You should however not do the work too soon. For instance, if you unclog them before the last of the leaves fall, you would have to repeat the process a few weeks later. Also, you should be careful with the ladder not to hurt yourself. 176,000 people went to the hospital in 2013 due to ladder accidents, according to the National Safety Council. In that line, it is always advisable that as a mom, you hire a professional, which would cost you around $150 as indicated by HomeAdvisor.
Stock up firewood
Moms have to be dedicated to keeping their kids warm throughout the season to keep off various illnesses. To ensure that your fireplace will keep on running, you should order seasoned firewood during the fall. Stack it carefully on pallets and cover the pile with a plastic tarp to keep moisture away. It is also advised that you store firewood in an unheated garage rather than inside the living area because wood could attract insects, according to Michigan State University Extension.
Windows and doors
Uninstall window air-conditioning units and store them for the warm seasons. If you decide to leave them in place, cover the outside of your windows with an insulated sheath and wedged towels between the sill and the unit to keep drafts out. Next, you should swap out screens for storm windows and doors. When changing glass screens, check your windows and doors for drafts and be sure to add weather stripping or caulk when cold air leaks in.
Smoke alarm and laundry dryers
3 out of 5 fire deaths occur in homes without working alarms as reported by United States Fire Administration. In this line, you should always ensure that yours are working by changing the batteries at least once a year. While at it, replace any detectors that are more than 10 years old. With today’s technology, you can opt for smart smoke alarm sensors which have apps that could alert you wherever you are in the world.
Laundry dryers cause 2900 home fires annually because of failure to clean them. Therefore, as you prepare for winter, hire a professional to wash them by removing potentially hazardous substances such as lint and debris. The best feeling for a mother when at work is knowing that her kids are safe back home.
You should walk around your perimeter checking for cracks and peeling paint. Also, inspect window sills and the roof for missing and broken tiles and have them fixed if necessary. After a rainstorm, walk around and look for any place where water might not be draining well such as water pools, downspouts and damaged gutters. “The objective is to get as much of the water away from your house as possible,” said Scott Johnson, director of operations, WIN Home Inspection, a network of over 190 home inspection companies in 33 states.
Having enough warmth in the house during winter is an aspect you cannot ignore as a caring mom. Since you will need the system to heat up the house during winter, call a plumber or a furnace repair company to fix your system if faulty. They should clean the equipment thoroughly and ensure that it is working correctly. “The heating system will not break down when it is 80 degrees outside, but you do not want to be stuck in the middle of the night with a heating system that won’t turn on when it is 5 degrees outside,” claimed Kerry O’Brien, the president of T. F. O’Brien Cooling and Heating.
The chimney and pipes
Smoke, heat and potentially fatal gases from the fireplace and heating system trail up the chimney into the atmosphere, keeping the air inside clean. A dirty chimney could intoxicate the air and also facilitate the occurrence of a fire, which could be a nightmare if your kids are home. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends annual inspection and cleaning of chimneys. “In general, with chimneys and fireplaces, the more you use it, the more likely you need it to be swept,” said Mr Johnson. Servicing your chimney could cost anything between $125-$200 as indicated by Angie’s list.
To keep pipes from freezing, you should have the outside water faucets drained and shut before the temperatures drop. During freezing nights, keep cabinets beneath the sink open to allow warm air in and let a slow drip of water to run through the pipes. Many people make the mistake of turning off the thermostat to save money. “Extreme weather is not a time to start trying to save your energy bill, crank your heat up during those weeks,” said O’Brien.
While preparing your home for winter, you should also buy equipment such as a snowblower and test them to ensure they are working properly. Also, update your emergency supply kit with fresh batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, food, water and a portable radio. As a mother whose kids mean everything, you ought to take time to learn how the house works, and you might actually enjoy the process. “I have enjoyed taking care of the house, and the house takes care of me,” claimed Judi E.Mendoza, 60, a saleswoman for Halstead.
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