During the winter months, there are several things you should do to keep your family and home safe. Here’s a checklist of the top five winter safety tips to keep in mind.
- Be wary of carbon monoxide. Warm your car up outside. Even if the garage door is open, it isn’t safe to do it inside and you risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Space heaters are another carbon monoxide risk. Use them with caution. Purchase and maintain carbon monoxide detectors, and take note of their expiration dates. If no expiration date is listed, keep in mind that the average CO detector has a life expectancy of 3–5 years, while smoke detectors need to be replaced every 8–10 years.
- Freezing temperatures don’t have to mean burst pipes. Water pipes on exterior walls or in unheated spaces such as a garage or attic are particularly susceptible to winter weather damage, so consider investing in pipe insulation and make sure you close the shut-off valve for outdoor faucets. Consider opening cabinets and closet doors to circulate warm air into the area. In extreme cold weather, you may need to leave the cold water tap dripping. This makes freezing pipes less likely to occur.
- Schedule a furnace inspection. Part of preparing your home for winter weather is ensuring that you can keep your home warm. Finding out about any issues you may have early in the season is much better than being stuck on the coldest day of the year without heat. Additionally, replace furnace filters and check your outdoor exhaust vents to make sure they are clear of snow and ice at all times.
- Before snow falls make sure that your gutters are free of leaves and debris. This will prevent ice dams which can cause water damage when winter storms overflow gutters.
- Check your trees for branches that overhang power lines. During the winter season accumulating snow can cause damage or even a power outage when a branch breaks.
Spending a little bit of time now preparing for winter will allow you to spend more time safely, inside, and in the warm this winter.