Michigan is now experiencing its first real cold snap. With temperatures dipping down into the teens overnight, it’s not to late to ensure that your home is buttoned down for the long, cold winter.
One of the first things you need to do is to change your furnace filter. Pick up a few extra filters so that you can change the filter monthly. This way your furnace will not have to over-work due to a clogged filter. Take the time to be sure that there is no debris or other items stacked around your furnace. Remember that your furnace is the heart of your Michigan home. It works hard for you all day and night long to warm your home and you generally don’t give it much thought unless it fails to work. If you hear any unusual noises coming from your furnace or if any rooms are not heating well, it’s time to call in an expert so that your furnace can be inspected and repaired.
Each winter in Michigan, a great many homeowners face frozen pipes. The most vulnerable pipes are those that are in outside walls, under sinks or in crawlspaces. Also, if you will be going away for several days during cold weather, your house is subject to freezing pipes if you do not take some safeguards. Use electrical heating cables or heat tape around these vulnerable pipes. If any of your pipes do freeze, do not try to warm them up with a flame or blow torch. Instead use a space heater or electric pipe wrapping.
If you have a fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned. Burn hardwood as opposed to fir and pine tree wood as these burn very hot and deposit more creosote in the chimney. Never leave smoldering embers inside your fireplace when you leave your home as they can flame up. It is very important that you have a heavy, tight fitting fireplace screen in place at all times as it will keep ash and embers inside the hearth where they belong. When cleaning the fireplace, put the ashes in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Do not use plastic as embers can stay hot for a very long time after the fire has stopped burning.
The outside of your Michigan home is susceptible to ice dams. While a heavy blanket of snow and ice hanging over the roof of your home is pretty, it causes ice dams to build up on your roof. Melted snow and ice can get under the shingles of your roof wherein the water can find its way into your attic. This water can damage the walls and ceilings inside your home. Make an ice dam sock by filling a nylon stocking with a household deicer then place it on the ice dam so that the melted water will run off your roof. If your attic’s insulation is old, replace it and be sure any any vents present are working well.