Leslie Cain: Winter is coming — begin preparing now
Officially, winter begins on Dec. 22, however since this is Northern Nevada, there is a good chance we will have several very cold days before that date. Since property damage caused from the cold can be costly, here are seven tips to help you get started on proactive winter maintenance tasks:
Prevent pipes from freezing
Look around your home for any pipes that may be exposed to the outside, and wrap them with insulation. Check your local hardware store for foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves that are easy to install. Also, place protective covers on your outside faucets. If the temperatures are extremely low, do not turn down the heat too much, even when you are not home.
Consider weather stripping
Applying weather stripping around older windows and doors can help you save up to 30% on your heating bill, and prevent air leaks. It is also a good idea to install window insulation film if you have older windows, which will reduce your heating costs as well.
Check heating and ventilation systems
If you haven’t had your heating system serviced in the past several months, now is a good time to schedule a routine maintenance checkup. Switch ceiling fans to the clockwise position which will help blow the warm air downward and will enhance energy efficiency. Also, make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.
Unblock clogged gutters
If gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, and remain clogged, they are more apt to freeze and cause blockages. These blockages can cause melting ice and snow to seep into your roof or flood your foundation.
Clean the chimney
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having your chimney inspected and cleaned annually since a dirty chimney can affect air quality and also become a fire hazard. In fact, CSIA also states that each year there are approximately 25,000 chimney fires, causing serious damage, injuries and an average of 10 deaths per year.
Prepare for snow removal
Make sure your snow blower is in good working order, and that you have fresh gasoline. If you typically hire a snow removal service, make sure to confirm those arrangements. Also, to help make snow removal easier, remove pine needles and other debris from decks, driveways and sidewalks.
Close down the sprinklers, deck and patio
Shut down the sprinkler system and drain the hoses and place in the garage. Cover the patio furniture or store it inside. Also, empty ceramic pots and bring them inside so they do not crack in the freezing temperatures.
For homeowner information or to find a licensed real estate professional, please contact Sierra Nevada Realtors at 775.885.7200 or SierraNevadaRealtors.org.
Leslie Cain is president of Sierra Nevada Realtors and an agent with RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in Carson City. Email Leslie@LeslieCain.com or call 775-781-1386.