Winter Tips to Keep You & Your Home As Safe & Efficient As Possible.
✓ Alarms - Change Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector batteries. There should be one Smoke Detector per bedroom and on each different level of the house. Place CO Detectors up high and away from ignition sources to prevent false positives. If the CO detector goes off, leave the house immediately and have a neighbor CALL 911.
✓ Irrigation - Drain outside irrigation by removing the back-flow device, remove drain plugs so water completely drains, and cap inlets. Store back-flow device inside to prevent damaging this unit. Make sure all hoses are removed from outside hose bibs to prevent freezing and drain all water from hoses.
✓ Heat - Replace filters & have heating system serviced yearly to check for problems like cracked heat exchangers. Keep the thermostat on your vacant home set no lower than 60 Degrees. Remember plumbing is buried in the framework of the walls where the outside temperature is making this space much colder than in the room. Reverse ceiling fan rotation.
✓ Pipes - Open vanity cabinets under sinks when leaving town. This will allow heat to circulate to the supply lines & drains. Use heat tape on exposed pipes in garages or unheated utility rooms. Turn off supply lines to washing machine when leaving town. Leave water heater on & set to vacation mode to conserve energy. Close all vents around crawl space during winter months. Wrap exposed pipes- this is a small investment in materials.
✓ Roof - Clean gutters & downspouts and remove branches and needles from roof. Inspect roofing material and replace or patch if necessary. Inspect heat tape on roof line - should be replaced every few years. Monitor for ice damming during roof snow melt & freeze cycles.
✓ Fireplace - Do not empty ashes into anything except a closed metal container. Clean chimney yearly. Remember to open damper before burning, close when not in use. Do not burn paper, trash, pine cones, or green wood. Allow wood burning stoves to receive enough air for complete combustion. Low temperature, air-starved fires create dangerous Creosote which can cause house fires and is very difficult to remove. Crack a window when burning.
✓ Shutoffs - Locate water & gas shutoff locations as well as your electrical circuit breaker box. If any of these valves are located underground outdoors, keep location marked & clear in case of emergency or consider having additional shutoffs installed in more readily accessible locations. Also be prepared to shovel out any fire hydrants located on your property for easier access.
✓ Storm Kit - During winter storm events it is possible to lose power or other services. Your storm kit should include items like: a portable radio & extra flashlights with fresh batteries; a supply of bottled water & ready to eat, nonperishable food items (Don’t forget your handheld can opener); blankets and warm winter clothing; essential medications & a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher. Use only safe & indoor approved alternate heating & cooking sources. A plug-in phone will keep you connected if you lose power since your cordless phone will not work without power. During the storm, stay safe - stay home.
✓ Automobile - Replace summer tires- consider studded tires for maximum traction. Install new winter wiper blades. Check antifreeze ratio to prevent freezing. 4WD does not help when braking. Keep traction chains with vehicle- chains may be mandated over California highways & passes. Slow down when roads are wet- posted speed limits may still be considered too fast for conditions. Keep the fuel in your vehicle full to minimize water vapor and remember your additional emergency travel kit. A shovel and some kitty litter (or your floor mats) can get you out of a slippery situation. Stay with your vehicle if you have problems & wait for help. Don’t travel during winter storms, your trip will be much safer once road crews have done their jobs. Clear all vehicle windows before travel to see and be seen and know the road condition report. Keep windshield washer fluids full with a non-freezing solution. Slow down around snow removal equipment.
✓ Snow Removal - Snow left out in the road by homeowners or private contractors is a road hazard and is illegal. Snow should not be plowed or stored onto or across the roadway. All homeowners and snowplow contractors should be aware that they can be cited and FINED for placing obstructions, including snow, on or in the roadway. You may also be liable for any accidents that may occur due to these obstructions.
Tahoe Workz Inc. - Snow Removal & Painting Service Provider for Incline Village & Crystal Bay.