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Prepping Your Home for a Harsh Chicago Winter

Date : December 30, 2013

The Windy City has long been known for its harsh winters and massive snowfalls. Fortunately, even if you are a bit behind in getting your Chicago home ready for the winter season, there is still plenty of time to prep your home for the rest of the winter season.

 Keeping Your Home Free From Water Damage

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Snow, ice and melting snow can all cause damage to your home. Your roof and foundation are particularly vulnerable during the winter season. Hopefully, you already cleaned out your gutters before the snow started to fall. If not, take advantage of any winter warm-ups to pull all of the debris from your gutters. Otherwise, when the snow melts from your roof, it will simply get stuck in the ice and other crud that is still crammed in your gutters. To further assist with the flow of melted snow water, add extensions to your downspouts. With these extensions, you can get the water to run at least three to four feet away from your foundation. Running the water away from your foundation will prevent water damage, which is only made worse by freezing temperatures.

 You can further prevent water damage by insulating any exposed pipes that you have in your home. Be sure to check your basement, attic, crawl space and interior walls. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing, which is important because frozen pipes are prone to bursting. This can lead to extensive water damage and expensive repairs. To further prevent frozen pipes, be sure to turn off and drain your exterior hose bibbs.

Holding in Heat with Insulation

Insulation can be used in many ways to help keep your home warm while saving on energy costs. First, make sure your water heater is properly insulated. This will help your water warm up more quickly without using as much energy. Next, c heck your attic to make sure your insulation is in good condition and that you have a depth of at least 12 inches of insulation in place. Not only will the insulation help prevent heat loss, but it will also reduce the number of icicles that form on your roof. Getting rid of icicles is important because their formation can lead to ice dams, which can create water leaks and roof damage as the ice melts.

Caulking Your Way to Better Energy Efficiency

When it comes to improving your home’s energy efficiency, caulk is definitely your friend. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 10 percent of heat is lost through your home’s windows. By caulking your window frames and adding weatherstripping, you significantly reduce this heat loss. You should also caulk around your door frames and your pipes. Check under your siks and in the baement when looking for pipes in need of caulking. Also, check for leaks around the electical conduits that run through your floors, walls and ceilings.

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