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Hello Winter

Do you look forward to the first day of winter? Do you dread it? How about that beautiful first snowfall? - there is nothing like it!

The first day of winter is known as the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day of the year with the least amount of light and therefore, the longest night. As the season progresses, the amount of light increases each day. Even though the days are getting longer, we continue to feel the cold increasing. This is partly due to something known as seasonal lag where the sun's energy is released slowly over time. Also, the Earth's orbit around the sun is elliptical and therefore, we are closer to the sun at certain times of the year. It would seem that we are closer in summer since it is warmer but we are actually closer to the sun in Winter. Since the earth's axis is tilted, the hemispheres experience different angles of sun rays. The Northern Hemisphere in Winter experiences the sun's rays at a more shallow angle and is tilted away from the sun.

Some people like to prepare in advance for winter and others just go day by day. However, not preparing can lead to the possibility of damage to your home. What are some of the things you can do to prepare for this season of cold, ice, and snow?

Make sure your pipes are insulated.

Uninsulated pipes can lead to freezing and maybe even bursting pipes when the temperature really starts to drop. You can help prevent this by checking the interior and exterior pipes of your home and see if they look worn or weakened in any areas.

If the pipes are not already insulated, you can purchase some foam pipe insulation at your local hardware or home improvement store. It is easy to install and is reasonably priced. However, you need to make sure the foam is snug on the pipe. If there is foam already on the pipes, check to make sure there are no holes or tears in it. If there is, you can replace it or patch it.

Don’t turn the heat down too much when taking a trip.

Winter time means traveling for many people during this holiday season to see family and friends. Some people think it's a good idea to turn the heat down to save energy costs. However, this can be a huge mistake. The temptation to turn the heat down or even off in your home when you leave could lead to a disaster. You may come home from your amazing fun trip to find that your pipes have frozen and burst. This could result in water flooding out causing water damage and possible mold growth in your home.

How do you keep a disaster like that from happening? No matter how long you will be gone for, you should keep the heat on and the thermostat set at around 68

degrees. This will help to keep the pipes on the inside of the home from freezing and also help the ones under the home. Remember, that whatever weather is predicted for the time you will be away, a cold front can move in unexpectedly, so keep that in mind on your way out the door and take one last look at the thermostat.

Clear snow off your roof edges.

Using a snow rake for the roof edges helps prevent icing up in the gutters. A roof rake is a tool mounted on a long pole that can be used to pull snow off your roof. One design is a scoop blade which is placed on the roof and dragged to the edge towards the ground.

It is designed to remove snow from a roof without causing damage to shingles, eaves or gutters. Roof rakes are intended for snow removal of single-story homes. The poles can be extended to fit your need. This extension is designed so you can reach the roof while standing on the ground and not on a ladder since the weight of the snow pulling off the roof could knock you off the ladder.

Take steps to prevent Icicles from forming.

Icicles are formed when ice dams happen along the eaves of the roof. Ice dams are caused from the under layer of snow which starts to melt when heat leaks from your attic. As these drips of snow move down and come in contact with the cold air along the eaves of your roof, they form a dam of ice. As the snow continues to melt, the drips add to the ice dam and can become hazardous icicles. There are some things you can do to help icicles from developing:

  • Improve attic insulation. Proper insulation helps your attic maintain the same temperature as the outside air and will help the temperature inside your home too. Soffit vents and ridge vents help the air to circulate. This moving air keeps the temperature inside your attic more balanced which helps prevent ice dams from forming.

  • Seal any possible leaks around the chimney, fireplace flues, and air outtake vents. Warm air can leak from your heat source including a chimney or flue. This heat will warm the underside of your roof, which can be the source of trouble in the winter. Kitchen vents and dryer vents should be checked also since they can do the same thing. Make sure they don't vent into the attic as that can add moisture which may cause many problems including mold.

  • Check that your attic is well ventilated. The attic should be insulated sufficiently. However, make sure the soffit vents and ridge vents are not covered so cool air can flow in the attic.

So whether you are looking forward to winter or dreading it, or maybe somewhere in between, it is always best to take a little time to check things out and maybe make a few repairs or upgrades. As long as you do that and keep your feet dry and ears covered you should be okay.

This may work for Snoopy and his house but you will need more than an umbrella to protect yours!

“Keep looking up…that’s the secret of life.” – Snoopy

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” – Aristotle


*Health Comes First - BNF Consulting, Inc. - 914-297-8335*

BNF Consulting specializes in providing:

Mold Survey, Asbestos Survey, Lead Water Testing,

Air Duct Cleaning, Environmental Survey, EMF Survey


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