As winter kicks into high gear in Asheville, making sure your home is equipped to handle the elements should take top priority. While warm bursts can interrupt winter’s march in this part of the Appalachians, there are still enough sustained cold snaps to warrant a thorough home prep. From heating to insulation to weather safety measures, having everything in and around your house readied can prevent cold-triggered dilemmas down the line.
Preventive maintenance can help extend the life of your heating system and identify potential problems that can turn into major headaches in the dead of winter. Before the cold settles in, have your furnace or boiler checked; clean or replace the furnace filter if you have a forced hot air system; if you have a working fireplace, make sure to have your chimney checked and serviced annually. As you settle into winter, have fuel tanks filled, and monitor levels throughout the season; never set your heat lower than 55 degrees, as the walls where water pipes live are colder than your home’s interior. Which brings us to …
When water inside pipes freezes, the expansion can cause pipes to crack or, worse, burst. Pipes can also burst when water builds behind a chunk of ice, so leaving faucets dripping in very cold weather, especially in colder parts of your house (basements and utility rooms), is a good idea. Don’t forget about exterior faucets and sprinkler systems: Drain water from them to keep those pipes from freezing, disconnect outdoor hoses, and cover outdoor faucets with foam insulators. Pay particular attention to piping in garages, crawl spaces and attics, where it could be colder, and consider extra insulation for these areas. Know where the water shutoff for your home is, in case your pipes do freeze; closing off the supply can prevent a water disaster.
Inspect and upgrade insulation regularly, and consider weather stripping for added protection against cold, blustery days. Extra insulation in attics can avoid ice dams: When too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm icy roofs that can eventually refreeze and cause an ice dam. Such situations can lead to water damage inside your home. Doors and windows that are weather stripped will prevent drafts and heat loss. If you have storm windows, install them.
Safety and Supplies
Ice and snow can pose safety concerns, even if you’re not on the road. Maintain trees in your yard to avoid ice-laden branch breaks that can lead to injury, damage to your home, or downed power lines. Make sure steps and handrails are in good condition; check that you have snow shovels and rakes, as well as ice-melting compounds, on hand. Be prepared for possible power outages with bottled water, nonperishable foods, first-aid supplies, and smartphone chargers.
All-season pleasures abound in Asheville. Knowing that your home is ready for the elements means you can stop worrying about the cold weather – and start enjoying everything winter in Western North Carolina has to offer.
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