Your home for helpful
articles, advice and tips.
Home Safety Tips for Winter Weather – Help Prepare Your Loved One's Home
Feb 22, 2016, 16:46 PM by Kathleen Hill
Winter is here and in full effect. With that being said, even if you're reading this article in July, the home safety checklist below can still help you prepare your loved one's home for winter weather.
If your parents or grandparents live in a part of the country that sees harsh winter weather, don't leave their safety up to chance. With these cold weather home safety tips, you can ensure they are well prepared for all eventualities.
1. Ensure the Heating System is Functional
Before winter arrives, hire a heating technician to inspect your loved one's furnace, boiler, and water heater (whichever apply). You want to ensure that all of these systems are in good working order prior to the cold months arriving. A simple inspection shouldn't take more than an hour, and will typically cost around $75-100, depending on the city your loved one lives in.
2. Ensure the Roof is Sound
A roof with holes in it will let hot air out and snow and rain in. It is vitally important that the roof of your loved one's house is in sound structural shape. If there are any shingles that appear to be missing or damaged, have them replaced by a qualified roofer. During this process, the roofer can also inspect the insulation underneath.
3. Reverse the Ceiling Fans (If Possible)
Heating a house during the winter time can be expensive. One way to reduce your loved one's heating bill is by reversing the ceiling fans. Not all fans feature this functionality, but if your loved one's fan has this feature, we recommend you use it. By reversing the fans in your loved one's house, you can create updrafts; these updrafts help circulate the air within the house, bringing the warm air at the top of the room back down to the floor.
4. Caulk Around Windows (If Necessary)
Similar to a roof, any gaps along the windows will let warm air out. If you notice gaps along the windows that are larger than a nickel, caulk them with waterproof caulk. This will help seal the windows and prevent warm air from needlessly escaping through gaps.
5. Turn Off Exterior Faucets
Water in exterior faucets can easily freeze. If you're able to locate the shut-off valves for your loved one's exterior faucets, close them for the wintertime. If not, the water within the pipes may freeze and expand, resulting in damage to the pipes themselves.
6. Sweep Chimney (If Necessary)
Before burning wood in the fireplace, you should make sure that the chimney is swept, clean, and free of debris. A clogged chimney can result in smoke making its way back into the house, which can be incredibly dangerous – even if it doesn't cause injury, it's still likely to get everything in the house covered in a fine layer of soot. Call a qualified chimney sweep and have your loved one's chimney inspected before the winter starts in earnest.
7. Stock Up on Essentials
Prepare for a worst-case scenario – you really can't be too safe during the winter, particularly when it concerns your loved ones. Items you may want to consider purchasing include a generator, electric torches or flashlights, along with ample batteries, extra blankets, heavy socks, gloves, headgear, shovel, and ice scraper. You may also want to purchase a snow blower in order to keep your loved one's driveway and sidewalk clear.
8. Consider Buying a Medical Alert Device with Fall Protection
During the winter months, ice and snow greatly increase the risk of falling. If your loved ones are at an age where falls pose greater risk for injury, you can't be too cautious. Sadly, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among the elderly. With a medical alert device with fall protection, like GreatCall's own Splash personal emergency response device, you can rest easier, knowing that if a loved one were to fall – whether outside on ice or inside due to tracked-in mud or water – help is on the way.