Creating a comprehensive winter checklist is an absolute must for Salt Lake City, UT residents who have a rainy season followed by a very cold snowy winter and then another rainy season.
More so than other cities, residents are quite prone to flash flooding from sudden thaws and downpours, as well as extremes of temperature, so it is important to make sure that everything is in good working order and that you are well stocked with home maintenance supplies.
The key phrase to keep in mind when it comes to preparing your home for winter is “insulate and ventilate” so that the warm air that is kept inside of your home is also kept fresh and safe to breathe.
Proper Insulation & Ventilation
Make sure your home is well insulated. Install foam weather stripping around doors to create a seal from the cold when the door is closed.
Apply caulking to the edges of your windowpanes to prevent cold air from seeping in where the frame meets the glass. Do a quick inspection of your entire home and try to find any holes or cracks that could allow heated air to escape and water or cold air to enter and fill them with foam insulation from a spray can.
Wrap your hot water tank with tape-on insulation to save energy, and if your pipes are prone to freezing, you can do the same with them. Make sure that your home is well ventilated and safe from air pollution.
Hire a professional to clean your ducts and vents and replace all of the filters on your HVAC or stand-alone furnace. This prevents fumes from the processing of heating fuels from becoming trapped in your home and causing allergies and environmental illness.
Make sure that your outdoor lighting is in good working order. Fog is a common occurrence in Salt Lake City during the rainy season, and it is crucial to install energy-saving, long-lasting LED light bulbs on every path and driveway to help prevent accidents.
Check the Detectors
Replace the batteries on your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Holding a candle close to the detector can help you determine whether or not it is working, however most start beeping as soon as the batteries expire.
It is best to change the batteries on both before any beeping occurs so that you know they will be working well through the long cold months.
A Functioning Dehumidifier
Check your dehumidifier to see if it is working properly. Inspect the fan blades and the tray that catches water, to make sure that they are not covered with mold. The cold, dry air of Utah winters does not hold moisture well, so running a dehumidifier for a couple of hours a day can help retain the heat in the air.
If you are trying to cut costs and don’t want to run a dehumidifier, then you can also try filling your home with lush tropical plants, which also help to hold moisture in the air.
Avoid Slips and Falls
Stock your garage with de-icing salt and good metal shovel. Be sure to buy a shovel with a flat edge for scraping ice off of sidewalks, driveways, and outdoor plumbing. The de-icing salt helps thick, glossy ice that looks like water, to melt very fast, so that nobody slips and falls.
Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to be a homeowner to benefit from the precautions and advice outlined on this checklist. If you are a renting, it is a good idea to be aware of these issues and take care of them yourself for safety’s sake.
If you live in a condo or apartment, you may have fewer concerns, but if you feel that an aspect of this checklist is not being addressed by your management, such as the icing of sidewalks or testing of fire alarms, then report it and make sure it gets done.