Anyone who has experienced winter in Chicago knows that it can get brutal fast. Before the worst of the frigid temperatures, bitter wind, and piles of snow can hit, it’s important to make sure your home is ready for the season. Be proactive and stay cozy this winter with these tips for keeping your home safe during Chicago winters.
Inspect Your Furnace Ahead of Time
No one wants to deal with a broken furnace in the middle of a cold snap. You can’t predict when your heating system will fail, but you can preempt a broken furnace by scheduling an inspection and tune-up before the worst of the cold weather hits. Even a routine cleaning or filter replacement can make a world of difference once your heater starts working overtime.
Avoid Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are one of the most common plumbing issues for Chicago homeowners. Once temperatures drop below freezing, the water within your pipes can freeze and expand. This can cause serious issues, such as cracks or bursts in the plumbing.
Thankfully, there are several easy things you can do to prevent frozen pipes this winter. Keep your heat set to above 55 degrees Fahrenheit—even if you’re not in the house—to help keep the pipes warm. Opening cabinet doors in the bathroom and kitchen will also help warm air reach your pipes. Disconnect any hoses and attach insulated covers to protect outdoor faucets. You should also use insulated sleeves to cover exposed lines outside your house, in the garage, or in other exposed areas of your home.
Don’t Let Ice Dams Build
Avoiding ice dams is another crucial tip for keeping your home safe during Chicago winters. Ice dams occur when ice builds up on the eaves of your roof. This can damage your roof and gutters, and the buildup of moisture can even seep into your home and cause water damage.
One cause of ice dams is poor attic insulation, which allows heat from your house to escape and melt snow on the roof. The melted snow drips down the slope of the roof to the gutters, where it re-freezes and forms the ice dam. Inspecting your home’s insulation before winter hits prevents ice dams and keep your home more energy-efficient throughout the season.
Another tip to prevent ice dams is to clean your gutters. Doing so will allow melted snow and ice to flow freely away from your roof, preventing a buildup of ice.
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