Winter preparedness is going to be especially important this winter for the residents of Chicago and the surrounding areas. Based on snowfall predictions for Chicago from AccuWeather.com, we are expected to get “above-normal” snowfall this season. To put this prediction in perspective, we average about 3.16 feet of snow every year, and to put it bluntly, we are expecting a lot of snow!
Furnace Care is Key
What this means for you as a homeowner is that it is time to prepare your home and your family now before the big snow starts to fall. The most obvious place to begin your preparations is at the furnace. If your heating equipment isn’t in tip-top shape, there is a good chance you will be left out in the cold this winter. Begin by having your yearly maintenance performed on the system. A serviceman from Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning will come out to your home and dissect the furnace and clean the main components by hand. Once completed, the serviceman will make recommendation regarding the condition of the system. If your system is old and falling apart, he may offer replacement of the entire unit or point out certain parts that are on the verge of failure.
Take his advice! Many people like to take a risk and ignore the technician’s recommendation. These are the people who are without heat in the middle of one of the coldest nights. Don’t let your family freeze this winter. With the amount of snow that we are expecting, this is not the year to take risks with your heating equipment.
Once the furnace is in working order, now is the time to move on to the other areas of the home that need protection and preparation. FEMA offers a few storm preparation tips that will be very helpful this winter. These include:
- Prepare for isolation- When snow falls in large amounts, there is a possibility that you could be trapped inside your home. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, it is important to have a backup wood supply in case the primary heat source is cut off.
- Add insulation- Adding insulation to the attic and walls increases your homes efficiency and comfort. Add weather stripping and cover drafty windows to help keep in as much heat as possible.
- Winterize outside- Clean out the rain gutters, repair leaks in the roof, and trim tree branches that could potentially land on the home during a winter storm.
- Insulate your pipes- Wrap the pipes in your home with newspaper or insulation material to prevent freezing. If you have a boiler system, this step is especially important.
- Check fire extinguishers- Make sure that you have functional fire extinguishers in the home in case of fire.
- Find the water shut off valves- If a pipe does freeze, it is important to know where the shut off valve is, so that you can shut down the water quickly.
- Check roof stability- Have the roof looked at by a professional to make sure that is can withstand the extra snowfall that we are expecting.
Finally, keep Four Seasons‘ phone number at hand. In the event that the furnace does fail, they are always available day or night to send a serviceman for repairs. Once all precautions have been taken, you can rest assured that you are ready to handle the crazy winter we have ahead.