While sledding and skiing are fun activities when it’s cold outside, winter also has its challenges. In many places, it can be a dangerous time of year, so prepare your home and plan ahead. To make it through another season of cold weather, use these tips to improve winter safety at home.
Winter Safety: Purchase a Generator
Your home needs power. Lights, appliances, space heaters, and other electronics won’t work without electricity. A winter storm or traffic accident may damage power lines and cause an outage. A generator will keep essential appliances running until the grid is restored and help to keep your family warm, healthy, and safe this winter.
Inspect the Heating System
Before cold weather arrives, make sure your heating system is working properly. Whether you have a fireplace, gas, or electric heaters, test your system out before the cold weather sets in. If you notice any problems, have the heat source inspected by a professional as soon as possible. It’s important to check your filters and change them every 30 to 90 days. Otherwise, your heating system won’t work at peak efficiency, and it may circulate dust and other contaminants throughout your home.
Shovel Walkways for Winter Safety
Paths and entryways should be free of snow, ice, and obstructions. In colder climates, this is one of the most important aspects of winter safety at home. Removing snow and ice helps prevent falls that could lead to injury. When shoveling snow and scraping ice, be mindful of your surroundings and move the snow to an area where it won’t cause problems later.
Test Carbon Monoxide Alarms
To stay safe at home this winter, install a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide is produced by gas stoves, fireplaces, and other heating systems. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when it builds to unsafe levels in your home and begins replacing the oxygen in your body. Carbon monoxide can be deadly in high concentrations, but it can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted. Test your carbon monoxide detector to verify it is working before putting your heating system to use this year.
Winter Safety Means Checking the Weather Forecast
The weather forecast isn’t completely reliable, but it can give you a general sense of the upcoming weather conditions in your area so that you can prepare for an upcoming storm. By checking the weather forecast regularly, you’ll know when to make preparations and stock up on essential items in case you’re stuck at home.
You rely on a steady supply of water for bathing, drinking, and cleaning up, so make sure that your pipes are in good condition and well-insulated before the temperature drops. Frozen pipes can burst and cause flooding and water damage. Wrap any exposed pipes in foam insulation and secure it with duct tape. If you live in an area with very cold winters, use heat tape on your pipes under the foam insulation. Heat tape plugs into an outlet and provides steady warmth to prevent frozen pipes.
Clean the Gutters Before Winter
While you should clean your gutters throughout the year, it is especially important to do so before it gets too cold. Leaves, debris, and water can freeze in your gutters, potentially damaging them or your roof. Gutters that don’t drain properly can overflow, allowing water to seep under your roofing materials. Gutters aren’t designed to handle a lot of weight and can tear away from the house if they fill with ice and debris, causing damage and costly repairs.