Winter is a few weeks away, and for many seniors and homeowners in the US, that means another season of inclement weather outdoors – and a few months spent checking that everything’s working properly indoors. Here are a few tips on how to winterize your home and avoid the challenges that can occur when the snow falls and the air freezes:
Take a look at your heating system
A lot can happen to an HVAC system over the course of a year. Dust can build up. Parts can break. Filters can clog. So when homeowners turn on their heating systems after being dormant for months, they may discover an issue they didn’t anticipate. Before it gets to that point, turn it on in advance to make sure everything’s working properly.
Hire an HVAC company to inspect the ducts, furnace, and other heating systems in your house, and cover up any outside A/C units to shield them from snow and ice build-up. Once your HVAC is running properly, keep your heat set to at least 68–70°F.
Protect your pipes
Another reason to set your thermostat to 68–70°F is to make sure that your pipes don’t freeze. Burst pipes are one of the most frequent causes of property damage during the winter and can cost upwards of $5,000 in water damage. If you leave town for the holidays, you can turn the temperature down to 55°F, but don’t dial it down any further. Open the doors inside your house so that warm air can circulate. Let cold water drip from a faucet to keep water moving through your pipes.
Inspect your chimney
A fireplace is one of the joys of wintertime. If your chimney flue is closed, however, a fireplace or other gas heater might emit exhaust in your house, which may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide poisoning detector or buy another one if it’s defunct or seems not to be working. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and make an appointment for someone to inspect your chimney when the weather turns cold.
Eliminate any cold drafts
Ask someone to inspect the crawl space, the attic, or any other hard-to-get areas to make sure that all the nooks and crannies of your house are adequately insulated. While they’re in your house, see if they can plug up any chilly drafts that may let the cold air in and seal up any cracks or holes with caulk. Consider installing a storm-door or weather-proof the windows. Replace any breezy summer curtains with heavier winter drapes.
Clean out your gutters
Another way to winterize your home is to ask a relative or a neighbor – or hire a gutter cleaning company – to clear out leaves, mud or sticks that may be clogging your gutters. Water finds its way into the tiniest cracks and holes in any home, and the accumulation of debris can cause rain and snow runoff to pool and seep into the roof, walls and even the foundation of your house.
A good choice this winter
Winter should be a cozy time for all of us. At Atria, our communities are furnished with all the comforts of home and equipped with the safety measures that come with being part of a senior living community. We know how to winterize our communities to create a home for residents that assures they’re safe and snug indoors when it’s sleeting and snowy outdoors.
Visit AtriaWinterWellness.com to learn more about how we’re keeping residents safe this winter.