5 Tips For Keeping You And Your Home Safe This Winter!
5 Tips for Keeping You and Your Home Safe this Winter
There is no denying this has been one of the coldest winters in years. Homes that previously fared well in our typical winter may not be doing so well now.
Unfortunately, many homeowners who never considered the risk of frozen pipes may learn the hard way their home is vulnerable.
To prevent frozen water lines inside of the home, simply turn on the taps to allow a slow drip of water. This will keep the water flowing, preventing a freeze.
If no water comes out of the tap, turn off the water source immediately. At this point it is advisable to call in a plumber to help you determine if a pipe has actually frozen or possibly burst.
If you are going away and do not want to take any chances, turn off the water at the main source and drain all of the taps and toilets to remove any remaining water.
When spring finally arrives, assess where you might add some insulation to prevent problems next year.
Lack of Humidity
The colder it gets, the more tempting it is to raise the thermostat. The warmer it gets in the house, the drier it gets. Although this sounds incorrect at first glance, we actually feel colder when the air is too dry. In the summer, we feel much hotter when the humidity is high – and we feel cooler when we reduce the humidity level.
Dry air also causes itchy flaky skin, dry sinuses, cracks in our wooden furniture and static electricity.
Where possible, adding a humidifier to the home furnace can be helpful. A simpler method is to add humidity with a room size humidifier – preferably in the bedroom to ensure easier breathing during the night.
The risk of sealing out drafts
During the cold windy spells, homeowners are often tempted to seal every possible space where the heat may be escaping and cold drafts are sneaking into the home. On one hand this is a good practice – but only to a point.
A recent article in the British Medical Journal warned homeowners of the risks of sealing up their houses to improve energy efficiency. Increasing the air tightness of a home will reduce air exchange if no other methods of ventilation into the home are improved.
A home that is too airtight can actually lead to poor indoor air quality, creating an unhealthy environment. An HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) is a mechanical air exchanger connected to the household duct system. This is one way homeowners can ensure a steady supply of fresh air is achieved.
Snow build up on the roof
Heavy loads of snow and ice on the roof can create a number of challenges. The build up of ice damns may lead to potential roof leaks; excessive snow and ice build up can create a structural roof collapse from the weight.
Homeowners should also watch for snow build up around skylights, mechanical vents, air intakes, and gas meters.
Keep all exit doors free of snow and ice to ensure you can safely leave the home in an emergency and keep an eye on icicles that are developing along the roofline. A large falling icicle can become a dangerous hazard.
Time to check on your neighbours
If you have older neighbours or neighbours with mobility challenges they can most likely benefit from regular contact to ensure they are managing the winter safely.
People of all ages can become vulnerable to the winter challenges we are facing.
Although we have passed the longest day of the year, there is a still a lot of winter ahead of us.
Jeffrey Kerr, Broker, RE/MAX Unique Inc.
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Jeffrey Kerr, Broker, RE/MAX Unique Inc., Brokerage
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