“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…with every pipe that freezes and bursts,” is not exactly how the song
goes. If it was, it really wouldn’t hold the same magical appeal that makes it the No. 1 Christmas song of
all time. For those of us who live in the “land of the frozen chosen,” however, frozen pipes are one of
many serious winter concerns. Take charge of your home with preventative cold-weather maintenance
and enjoy peace of mind all season long.
1. Create an emergency supply kit
Be ready the next time a big snowstorm, a blizzard or freezing rain takes out your power by
assembling a comprehensive emergency kit. Important items to include: candles, warm blankets,
bottled water, prepackaged snacks, flashlights and batteries, wireless phone chargers and a first-
2. Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors regularly
An odorless gas, carbon monoxide can build up to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. This is
especially true during the winter months when homes are sealed up tighter against the outside
elements and furnaces, stoves and fireplaces are operational. Place smoke detectors and CO3
detectors in each bedroom, in each hallway and in the kitchen. Also, ensure that every floor has at
least one detector. Then check the batteries in each device monthly to make sure they are
3. Work to prevent ice dams
Ice dams form when heat loss at the edges of a roof cause snow above them to melt (and
subsequently refreeze) leading to ice build-up along the roof’s edges and gutters. This ice
prevents new melt from properly draining off the house. Instead, water backs up underneath the
shingles and freezes. This ice layer can cause leaks inside the home and lead to serious permanent
Ice dams can be warded off in a few ways:
● Remove any debris from your gutters so water can drain off the roof and away from the
house when the outside temperature allows.
● Invest in better insulation and ventilation in your attic space.
● Quickly remove snow after storms. The use of a roof rake is a safer option than climbing
on your roof with a shovel and it’s still very effective.
4. Prevent frozen pipes
Water expands when it freezes so any water that sits in pipes can cause them to burst.
Avoid this scenario by:
● making sure that any pipes on the exterior walls of your home are properly insulated so
they don’t freeze.
● setting the thermostat to 55 degrees or higher even when you’re not home.
● disconnecting your hose from your home’s exterior before the first freeze.
5. Service your furnace regularly
Don’t be left in the cold. Service your furnace regularly to keep it running properly. If you heat
with gas, service your furnace every 3 years. If you heat with oil, service your furnace or boiler
every year. Also, replace furnace filters regularly and make sure that vent pipes for high-
efficiency heating systems are kept clear of snow.
If you have any questions about winter maintenance that helps keep your home and family safe, connect
with us on our website or give us a call at 651.212.4965!