7 Winter Weather Preparations To Protect Your Home

Don’t waste a ton of money this winter repairing or replacing costly effects that could have been avoided. Take these 7 quick and easy winter weather precautions and save the headache!

 

Buy a protector for your outdoor faucet

  • What can start as just a little frozen water can end up filling an inch of water in your basement which can cost up to $15,000 to pump out and dry out
  • Outdoor faucet protectors come in many styles, and you can order them through Amazon or at pick them up at your local home improvement store.
  • Check that any exposed pipes are insulated too

Invest in insulation to prevent ice dams

  • Icicles can be a sign of buildup on your gutter or roof, preventing the melting snow and ice from coming down through the gutters
  • Once the dam forms the resulting water can leak into cracks and opening in the attic, or drip down and create large and dangerous icicles
  • Attic insulation is key, but if you don’t have the money to fully insulate then you can temporarily affix heated gutter cables
  • Getting an ice dam steamed off can generally cost between $300-600 per hour
  • Get help finding the right contractor and know the questions to be asking

Clean your gutters

  • When water can’t get through your gutters, it redirects into your foundation
  • Plugging foundation cracks can cost from $1,500 to $3,000+
  • A full foundation excavation or rebuild can cost $30,000 or more

Seal up Leaks

  • Cracks can be found in window sills, baseboards, fireplace or dryer vents,etc
  • Inexpensively seal cracks with caulk; look for a brand that water based or waterproof and paintable
  • Learn how to caulk a crack in your wall

Program your thermostat

  • Align with your schedule to save on heating bills
  • Invest in a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat to easily control the temperature in your home, whether you’re home or away

Get a furnace tune-up

  • Maintain your current system as new units run around $4,000
  • Thoroughly clean the unit; blower, fan blades, and drain line
  • Replacing furnace filters regularly can shave another 15% off your energy bill
  • You can perform the tune up yourself or call a contractor to do it for you, which will include an inspection for other furnace issues as well as testing for leaks, fuel pressure, and airflow 

Get a fireplace inspection

  • This inspection checks the liners, smoke chamber, chimney exterior and firebox to detect for structural problems
  • If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, check for fallen debris or nests that may have been formed by pests that can clog the chimney which can lead to a chimney fire, carbon monoxide poisoning  & toxic fumes
  • Take the time to schedule a maintenance appointment to avoid a fire than can cost thousands of dollars in repairs to your home or injury to you and your family

Enhance & Extend the service life of your Outdoor Furniture

With Memorial Day this past weekend, many of you may have broken out your lawn furniture for the first time this year. With the harsh and unpredictable weather we are accustomed to here in Buffalo; wear-and-tear on outdoor fixtures is virtually unavoidable. Check out these quick and easy tips from Zillow.com on how to get the most out of your  outdoor furniture.

Extend the lifespan:

  • Wipe up any beverage or food spills right away.
  • Wipe off furniture after it rains.
  • Remove any tree or bird deposits as soon as possible.
  • Remove any residue from suntan lotions and body oils that can stain or accelerate the breakdown of materials. Have towels available to provide an easily cleanable barrier between chairs and their occupants.
  • Store or cover furniture that doesn’t stand up well to constant exposure, such as bamboo.
  • Check all bolts and screws and tighten any that may be loose.
  • Replace broken, rusted or missing pieces.
  • Use a silicone lubricant on all wheels and hinges.
  • Bring the furniture inside during harsh winter weather or store under a breathable cover.
  • Look underneath chaises for damage to the glides from dragging. Replace if they are worn out or missing.
  • Aluminum is one of those great recyclable items. Strip this furniture to the aluminum only, removing webbing, hardware (if not aluminum) and glides. Recycled aluminum is made into cans, pie pans, small appliances and lawn furniture.
  • If the furniture is still serviceable but your design ideas have changed, donate the item to a local charity that sells used goods.
  • If the lawn furniture is made from No. 2 plastic, it also can be recycled into other durable products.

Are Our Neighborhoods Contributing to Weight Gain?

Buffalo certainly isn’t as walkable a city as New York– with the weather and lack of adequate walking paths, driving seems to be a much more efficient option. Certainly, when the weather turns warmer, our city has much to offer in the way of healthy outdoor options, but the design of the city, like many others, could be contributing to obesity.

Studies from around the world are showing a correlation between the location and design of our neighborhoods and overall health. For Buffalo, which is comprised of many suburbs that are far and away from shopping and entertainment, this means that driving is the best means of getting anywhere. But being forced to drive (in winter and summer) means that we are sitting more than ever.

Of course, just because one lives in the suburbs doesn’t mean he or she has to miss out on a healthy lifestyle. The study also found that the number of opportunities for a healthy lifestyle also can help keep neighborhoods from keeping us lethargic. With the number of gyms throughout Buffalo and its suburbs, as well as bike paths, tennis courts, and other hubs of exercise, it is truly up to the individual to make the change.

So go outside or to the gym and do something active! Enjoy your neighborhood, even if it forces you to drive.