Preparing Your Anchorage Alaska Real Estate For Cold Weather - 10 Good Points

Posted by Dan Wolf on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 5:15pm.

There are several things homeowners can do to prevent cold weather and winter related problems with their home or simply limit any anxiety when the cold weather arrives.   I have accompanied buyers to many home inspections and I've heard what the inspectors tell new home owners as well as my personal experience from living many winters in the Anchorage area.  Here is my "prepare for winter home check-list."

1.  Check your smoke detectors batteries.  Batteries can fail at the crummiest times, like 2am on a Sunday night the night before an important meeting at work.  Make sure the smoke detector is working properly.  In the winter, you'll have your doors and windows shut up more than you do in the summer.  A car running in the garage or a pin hole crack in your furnaces heat exchanger can put an amazing amount of dangerous carbon monoxide into your house.

2. Have your fireplace chimney cleaned.  Anchorage firemen will tell you home fires occur every winter in fireplaces that haven't been used in months.  You see, when a log burns it put out gases that condense as they rise up the chimney.  This wood smoke residue is flammable.  If you are home with the family on a cold night this winter, and you figure a fire would be romantic, you could be open to a chimney fire.  A chimney cleaning isn't expensive and is a good idea.

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3. Remove the gas from small appliances.  This isn't a safety concern as much as it is a practical thing.  You see, gas will gel in the carburetor and fuel lines in a small engine over the winter.  It can be a pain to get the engine started in the spring!  If you don't want to remove the gas, at least purchase fuel stabilizer and put it in the gas take and let it run into the carburetor.

4.  Empty off your deck.  Shoveling will be more difficult if you have to work around the picnic table and chairs.  The season is over, and you probably won't be having your coffee on the deck for a while!

 5.  Use your ceiling fan.  It's a good idea to have air circulating in your home.  Warm air rises from your heat vent or registers, and warm air rises.  If you have high ceiling - or a vaulted ceiling, the fan will push the  warm air around the room so the warm air doesn't hang at the ceiling. Most ceiling fans will 'push' air in one direction and 'pull' air in another.  You want to push the warm air back down.

6.  Start using your "set-back" thermostat.  Modern thermostats act like a clock, lowering the temperature when no one is home, like during the day if  you are at work, or lower temperatures when you are snuggled up in your bed for the night.  Learn to use your programmable thermostat!  It will save you money by only heating the house when you actually need the heat.

7.  Disconnect your garden hose.  This isn't a cosmetic thing, like your house sitting there with snow on it.  No, when water freezes, it expands.  There is water in your hose.  If it freezes when it's connected, it could break the faucet or the water pipe inside the wall. 

8.  Clean the leaves out of your gutter.  If you have trees in your yard, they can blow on the roof and end up in the gutter in the fall rain.  Enough leaves will clog your gutter and water won't be able to get do the drain and can over-run the  gutter and run down the roof facia.

9.  Get your furnace inspected & serviced!  You really should do this every year.  Plumbers will tell you that many, many furnaces break down when homes are calling for heat.  There are only so many reputable companies and the good furnace techs get slammed fixing furnaces on cold days.  Plan ahead!  It's usually less expensive to get the service done BEFORE winter when the furnace guys aren't all that busy!

10. Lastly, get your shovel out of the crawlspace or shed so you can get your hands on it when you need it!

 I hope these ideas will help.  If you have others to add, comment to this blog or send me an email.

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