MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.-- Snow and cold weather is here to stay (at least for a while), so Patrick Morrissey of Mount Kisco-based P. Morrissey Contracting has some tips to help you avoid problems with your home this winter.
Making the effort to protect your home from winter damage is a smart investment plan: it sustains comfort at home and saves you money on heating bills and future repair costs.
First, Morrissey suggested, homeowners should make sure to clean their gutters, as clogged gutters tend to promote ice build up.
And, to avoid frozen pipes, "on very cold and windy days below 20 degrees, bump the house heat up," he said.
Morrissey recommends that homeowners keep their furnace/air filters clear, since clogged filters reduce efficiency.
Morrissey, whose business was started in 1985, also suggested that homeowners make sure their windows are locked to keep heat from escaping from the house.
In older homes with windows that do not have a weather strip, storm windows should be closed during cold winter nights. Homeowners can close their curtains during the night to further reduce heat loss.
Morrissey also recommended making a point to close foundation vents in crawl spaces.
Keep fireplace dampers and doors closed when not in use, Morrissey suggested, and shut off hose bibs if they are not the frost-free type.
"Garages are a major source of heat loss, not to mention cold floors in the rooms above," Morrissey said, so homeowners should always keep garage doors closed during the winter months.
Morrissey also advises homeowners to remove snow from driveways and sidewalks quickly to avoid having to use snow-melt products. as some of these can damage surfaces.
Keeping humidity levels elevated during the winter months is essential, he said, since dry air can cause floors, furniture and trim to shrink, and can also lead to uncomfortably dry skin for residents. While most modern homes have forced air or hydronic heat systems, homeowners can also call their heating and cooling contractor and have them install a humidifier.
Finally, Morrissey advises homeowners to examine the outside of their homes and patch any holes where small animals might attempt to enter and take shelter from the cold.