Top 5 Home Care Tasks for Winter
Winter is here and between the bitter cold and dangerous weather conditions, it can be a little nerve wracking to deal with. As a home owner it is key that your home is prepared for the coming winter months. An emergency in the home can cause serious damage to both your house and your family. Be proactive and take these 5 easy steps to help better prepare your home for the harsh winter months ahead.
1. Backflush your water heater
Winter means frigid weather and frigid weather means your water heater is working twice as hard as it had to before the cold. In order to maintain energy efficiency and extend the life of your water heater it is important to back flush it before winter hits. This process involves draining around 5 gallons of water from the bottom of the water heater. This task should be done with caution because the water that is emitted from the electric heater is very hot and can burn or scald you. If you are unsure of what you are doing or are hesitant it may be better to call an experienced license professional to backflush the heater for you. Before selecting a contractor be sure they are licensed and insured.
2. Invest in a programmable thermostat and set it up.
A programmable thermostat can save a homeowner up to $150 per year in energy costs. The catch? Most home owners don’t program their thermostats the right way or even at all. Another added benefit is that you can monitor your energy consumption while also making sure your pipes do not freeze. Some newer models even allow for adjustments through your smart phone or tablet. Don’t have a programmable thermostat? Now is a good time to get one. Before running to the store, check in with MassSave or your local energy provider as there are many rebates and offers for these thermostat upgrades.
3. Stock up and check emergency supplies You should always have a proper stock of emergency supplies before the winter months hit. Not only can they help you and your family survive a precarious situation but they are vital when there is loss of power, heat, or water due to particularly nasty weather. Your supplies should always be fresh and never past their expiration date.
A good supply includes: -Gallons of drinking water -Non-Perishable Food Items -Batteries of different types (AA, AAA, C, D, etc) -Flashlights and Candles -Matches and lighters -First Aid Kit -Can-Opener (Manual) -Battery or hand powered Radio -Gasoline properly stored and sealed -A list of emergency contact numbers 4. Keep your Family Safe The holiday season has come and gone in a flash but unfortunately the rise in crime for the season has not yet dropped. When out and about be sure to lock your home, car and set your security system. Burglary risk rises during the holidays while many people are out visiting their loved ones. 5. Tune-Up your Computer Technology has become very important in our daily lives. We use it almost everyday in everything that we do. Because the winter weather is here and there is an increased chance of power outages it is important to back-up your computer files before the extreme weather hits. Backing up your files allows for them to stay safe and secure in a separate place in case your computer comes to an untimely demise due to a power surge or power loss. Also, takes this time to be sure that your virus protection,malware and overall systems is functioning properly. Winter is a prime time for identity theft due to increased purchases online. Not sure how to do this? Call your local Best Buy or other similar computer store. They have staff and services you can hire to assist you in this process. Winter can feel like a very long and drawn out season. Although the snow can make for a beautiful picture, it can also spell disaster for the unprepared. Take the time this week to review your emergency procedures and strengthen your home so that you can beat the winter risks.