As we’ve seen this past week, the weather in the Treasure Valley is arguably turning into a winter wonderland rivaling C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. With this much snow, we might also experience seasonal issues such as ice accumulation, deep snow buildup, frozen pipes, and structural concerns due to snow weight. Here’s a few tips to help you stay on top of your home maintenance this winter, ensuring your house will continue to stay in great condition by the time spring shows up.
Remove snow as quickly as you can. Consider purchasing a roof rake to stay on top of snow removal on the roof of your home. If you purchase ice melt, make sure it’s pet friendly, as this type of ice melt doesn’t cause damage to pets and doesn’t usually damage newer concrete. If you have a brand-new home, remember not to use ice melt on your new concrete, as this could void your warranty. Flag the edges of your driveway and sidewalks to help you know when to stop shoveling or snow-blowing, preventing inadvertently damaging your landscaping.
Prevent ice dams. Ice dams are created when the edges of a home’s roof is colder than the upper region, causing ice to form around the eaves. When the snow melts above, the melted snow backs up behind a dam of ice, possibly causing leaks and roof damage. Make sure to use your roof rake, being mindful to not damage the gutters. Consider filling nylon stockings with salt and placing them vertically two feet apart along your roofline to try to prevent ice from forming. Read more about ice dams by clicking here.
Don't leave your dryer door open after washing and drying your clothes. They have a direct vent to outside which allows cold air to pour in quickly. Check the outdoor vent to ensure it's not obstructed by snow or ice.
Contact a chimney sweep to clean your wood-burning fireplace and woodstoves. Gas fireplaces also need to be checked (even though gas is clean-burning) because you could have an old nest or debris blocking the chimney that you don’t even know about.
Prevent frozen pipes by leaving your faucets to drip ever so slightly. It is said that running water is less likely to freeze. Make sure your heat isn’t set lower than fifty-five degrees when you are away. It’s also very important that you remember to disconnect your hose from the outside faucet and don't hesitate to call a licensed plumber if you have any concerns.
Watch your big trees. Heavy snow can make your large trees prone to breaking. Be especially cautious with trees that overhang on or near your house. Brush snow off the trees you are concerned about to the best of your ability, but don’t shake the tree. Call in a professional if you notice your tree limbs are starting to sag so they can be removed or cleaned safely.
Maintain your furnace. If you haven’t had an HVAC inspection within the last thirty-six months, now would be a good time to do so to ensure you’re not without heat even temporarily. Also, change your air filters regularly and make sure all PVC vent pipes are cleared of snow and debris.
If you follow these simple tips, you can rest assured that your home will be well protected this winter. We experience four beautiful seasons in the Treasure Valley, and each one brings new experiences. This wonderful winter snowfall (January 2017) is the most we've experienced since 1985. By being prepared this season, winter will be fun-filled and worry free.