According to forecasts, the Lake Arrowhead area should see snowfall later this week. Just in time for the holidays, the first snowstorm may be picturesque. But if you haven’t taken steps to prep for winter, the impending storm could put your home at risk. To help, we have come up with some tips to help you winterize your Lake Arrowhead house.
- Inspect the furnace. You may want to call in an HVAC professional to check your system. In advance of his inspection, check your filters and make sure you change them on a regular basis. Make sure all flammable material is located far from heat sources.
- Check windows and doors for leaks. If you hear wind coming through windows or doors, make sure you seal all entry points. Use weather-stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
- Call a Chimney Sweep, to prepare your fireplace for winter use. In the meantime, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. Inspect the damper and check the mortar between bricks.
- Schedule Roof Inspection. Consider adding extra insulation to the attic, which will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof. Also, make sure your roofer checks flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home and that he replaces worn roof shingles or tiles.
- Check the Foundation. Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation. And, unless you don’t mind critters living under your house, seal entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
- Service Weather-Specific Equipment. Since you won’t need to use most gardening equipment until next summer, drain gas from lawnmowers. Service or tune-up snow blowers. Replace shovels. Stock up on ice-melt and sand. And while you’re at it, you may want to call a snow plow company to arrange for service starting with the first snowfall.
- Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces. If branches are hanging low, have trees trimmed so they won’t interfere with electrical wires. If you’re uncertain, ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned, to prevent potential winter injury. Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
- Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/ or water heater. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months to make sure they are in good working condition.
- Prepare an Emergency Kit. Buy indoor candles and matches for use during power outages, which can happen in the San Bernardino Mountains during storms. Locate emergency phone numbers and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book. Store bottled water (3 gallons per person for three days) and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if necessary), blankets and a first-aid kit in a cool, dry place. Store in an easy-to-access location. Prepare a family evacuation plan.
- Keep pipes from freezing. This is particularly important if you plan to leave your home vacant for any length of time. Locate the water main so you will know where to go to shut it off in an emergency. Drain garden hoses. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Before you leave for vacation, set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees.
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