Our corner of Pennsylvania welcomed the new year with a stretch of unseasonably warm weather. At one point in early January, temperatures got into the high 60s.
But our luck can’t hold forever. Cold weather and winter storms will eventually return. And with those conditions comes the risk of property damage.
In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at some ways you can protect your home – and your heating and cooling system – this winter.\
Preparing for winter
If you haven’t already, take these steps to keep your home free from winter damage:
Keep the temperature to at least 65 degrees
It’s not so much your comfort levels we’re thinking about here, but the temperature inside your walls, which tends to be much colder than the walls themselves. You need to keep the temperature inside your home up to prevent the pipes from freezing.
Turn on your faucets on cold days
This doesn’t mean turning your sink on at full blast. Let them drip slowly on very cold days to keep water moving in the pipes and prevent freezing. You should also make sure you know the location of your home’s main water shutoff valve and how to use it.
Checking your heating sources
Make sure your heaters, fireplaces or wood stoves are in good condition. Make sure there are no flammable items near these heat sources and keep an eye on them, particularly during their first use of the season.
Winter and your heating and cooling system
There are a few ways snow and ice can wreak havoc on your heating system:
- Icicles can fall onto your outdoor unit and cause serious and expensive damage.
- Snow and ice build up can block your ventilation and exhaust system, preventing your system from working properly and even putting you in danger of carbon monoxide exposure. (Many furnaces do have a safety switch that shuts down the system if this sort of blockage occurs.)
- Melting snow can leak into your system and cause components to rust.
After a storm
If you’re reading this in the aftermath of a snow or ice storm – or a severe cold snap – you may want to check your home for damage. Some of the places you can look are:
- Your roof – Wintry weather can bring significant damage to your roof, whether it’s from high winds pulling off shingles to ice dams causing leaks.
- Gutters – While you’re up on the roof, check your gutters to make sure they’re clear of snow, ice or debris.
- Windows – Changing winter temperatures can cause the caulk to shrink from your windows, which can lead to drafts, causing your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to keep your home warm.
- The basement – Basement flooding is a regular worry for most homeowners, no matter the season. Check your basement for flooding caused by melting snow and ice, and make sure your drains are unclogged before snowstorms.
- Steps and driveways – Check these areas after storms for chips, cracks and loose bricks, which can present trip hazards.
Has winter weather taken its toll on your heating system? Are you worried your heating and cooling system may not last through the next storm? Turn to All Seasons Comfort Control.
Our heating and cooling technicians can examine your system and make sure it’s in good working order, so you can concentrate on protecting the rest of your home this winter.