- If you have oil heat make sure the oil tank stays filled. Outside tanks should have a wind-break or enclosure to prevent freezing. Have the oil company add a thinner to the oil to prevent the lines from clogging in extreme cold.
- Make sure boilers and furnaces have been cleaned and serviced - once every two years for gas, every year for oil heat.
- Keep an eye out for ice dams. Your attic should not be warm at this time of year. Add ventilation and insulation to attic and heat cables to roof if needed.
- Check doors and windows for drafts.
- Make sure the garage door is closed when you leave the house.
- Close the fireplace damper if not in use. Wood burning fireplaces will not normally heat the home but wood or pellet stoves will.
- Make sure you have enough smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and that the batteries are fresh.
- Pay attention to water supply pipes located on exterior areas of your home. Even when located inside the walls or in the attic the pipes can freeze and crack in extreme cold, causing flooding (see picture). You can let the water drip from a faucet to help prevent freezing, add heat tape to pipes, or insulate the pipes.
- Now would be a good time to make sure you have a service contract for your heating system.
- You'll want to make sure you know a good plumber too, just in case your pipes freeze.
- If you have a hydronic heating system its possible that you have water pipes in your attic. If so consult a heating contractor about the possibility of adding anti-freeze to your system.
Welcome to winter - now's a good time to review cold weather precautions for homeowners: