Homeowner Checklist: Preparing for Winter – Part 2
Connecticut winters can be harsh, and it makes things easier for homeowners to prepare in advance. You will need to take the proper steps to prepare your chimney, fireplace, and home for cold, winter weather. Be sure to read the first part of this two-part checklist, and here are additional items to check off before winter:
□ Schedule a Chimney Inspection and Cleaning
Because winter weather in Connecticut can be tough, it’s best to check your chimney to make sure there is no damage. Your fireplace can’t operate safely or properly if the chimney is in a state of disrepair. An annual cleaning is important because creosote, which is deposited in your chimney every time you light a fire, is highly flammable and can start a hazardous chimney fire. The National Fire Prevention Association recommends that fireplaces be inspected and cleaned annually.
□ Check Fire Extinguishers
If you use a fireplace, it’s especially important to keep operational fire extinguishers handy. Teach everyone in the house how to use the extinguishers, in case of emergency.
□ Adjust Ceiling Fans to Reverse
The most effective way to use your ceiling fan is different for winter than it is in summer. When you reverse the blade direction or turn them clockwise, the blades will push the rising warm air back to where it can benefit you. When the blades are rotating in a counter-clockwise direction, it helps to keep the room cooler. In rooms with high ceilings, the fans could enable you to adjust your thermostat by a degree or two and save money on energy costs.
□ Find and Plug Hidden Leaks
Studies have shown that approximately 30% of the cold winter air that gets into your home makes entry through openings where vents, pipes, and electrical conduits run through floors, ceilings, and walls. Get some insulating foam sealant and check under your bathroom and kitchen sinks and for gaps around pipes in the basement. Caulk is useful for effectively sealing small gaps.
□ Protect Pipes
Don’t wait until the last minute to protect your plumbing pipes from freezing and possibly bursting. Foam tubes are available which have a slit on one side. It’s easy to cut these handy tubes to the needed length, pull open the slit area, and push the protective tube over the pipe. For slits that don’t have self-adhesive edges, secure the foam covering with duct tape.
□ Add Insulation
Do you have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic? One foot of installation is the depth recommended by experts. Roll out some additional insulation, as needed, to help keep the warmth inside your home.
□ Prepare Emergency Kits
For Connecticut winters, it’s best to be prepared for emergencies at home and in your car. Besides making sure you have plenty of seasoned firewood ready for winter, include the following items in your emergency kit(s):
- Road salt or cat litter
- A cell-phone charger that works with your car battery
- A hand-crank or battery-powered flashlight and radio
- Extra batteries
- Sleeping bags for everyone
- First aid items
- Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full during winter
If your chimney isn’t ready for winter, contact our chimney sweep professionals today. We can also check to be sure your dryer vents are cleaned and safe, and we offer numerous other services, as well.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110