Around the House: Winterize Your Home to Stay Safe and Warm

Around the House: Winterize Your Home to Stay Safe and Warm

By Yehudit Garmaise

We have moved back into our homes and wished each other a “gutten vinter,” but as the temperature continues to cool, the task remains to winterize our homes.

As MarCheshvan rolls in next week, New Yorkers can ensure safety and warmth by following the checklist provided by the City’s Department of Buildings (DOB).

1. Keep heat inside: Use weatherproofing and weather-stripping to seal loose-fitting windows and doors, which allow heat to escape.

2. Ensure attic insulation is at least six inches deep to prevent heat loss. Heat rises, so the majority of heat escapes from through the roof. 

3. Hire professionals, but first check their qualifications. Anyone who comes to inspect boilers or chimnies must be able to provide proper qualifications from the DOB and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). When a heating oil inspector comes to check the meter, check that the DCA has inspected the oil company’s delivery truck.

4. Hire professionals to check and service the heating system once a year. Proper maintenance of heating equipment not only reduces the risks that cause malfunctions, but professional maintenance assures that the heat works at its maximum efficiency.

5. Hire professionals to clean and check the chimney once a year.  Fallen birds’ nests, tree branches, and trash can create dangerous blockages in chimneys.

6. Insulate water meters and pipes so they don’t freeze. Hire professionals to turn off the water that runs to outside faucets, remove hoses, and drain the pipes before providing proper insulation to unused pipes. 

7. Thaw out frozen pipes and meters with care. Do not use a flame, which could ignite a fire or cause a steam explosion. Instead, open a faucet near the frozen area to release vapors from melting ice.

8. Prevent the accumulation of snow and rain and the roof. Collected water on a roof can cause leaks. If the weight of collected water on a roof becomes too heavy, the flooding overhead can compromise the building’s structural integrity. Keep gutters and drains clean, unclogged, and snow-free. 

9. Install and regularly check the batteries of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and change the batteries twice a year.  Daylight Saving Time (DST)’s beginnings and ends are great times to check and change the batteries of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Buy new batteries now to have on hand for November 5, when DST will end.

10. Avoid fire hazards. Ensure space heaters are kept far from draperies, linens, and all flammable materials, such as pajamas or other clothing. Do not let candles burn unattended, nor burn low. Do not ever leave burning candles within reach of children.  

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