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WintErizing your HomE

A s much as we would like, we can’t change the weather. But you can minimize some of winter’s biggest threats to your home. Be prepared to battle the elements with the following tips.

Ice dams are an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof. If the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off the roof, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house. To help reduce the risk of ice dams, be sure to: n Clear gutters of any leaves and debris left from the fall. n Keep the attic well ventilated so snow doesn’t melt and

refreeze on the roof’s edge. n Keep the attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount

of heat rising through the attic from within the house. Bursting pipes occur when frozen water causes pressure to buildup between the ice blockage and a closed faucet. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. Keep your water pipes from bursting by taking

the following precautions: n Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow heat transfer. n Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking. n Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. n Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space. Heavy snow accumulation poses a threat to your home as it builds up and as it melts, so be sure to: n Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls. Melting snow can lead to water damage and moisture intrusion. n Watch for snow accumulation on the downwind side of a higher-level roof, where blowing snow will collect.

WHEn is WintErizing too mucH?

W e have all heard that winterizing your home is good f o r t h e e n v i r o n m e n t a n d w i l l s a v e u s m o n e y o n o u r energy costs. And while all of this is true and we should do all we can to reduce our energy consumption, too much winterization may be harmful to our health, especially if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma.

In the process of preventing heat leaking through our windows and doors, we forget that things like pet dander, dust and smoke need to escape. In addition, warmer temperatures in a closed space are a breeding ground for some insects, rodents and moulds. Indoor winter air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor winter air. Those most affected are small children, seniors and family members who have allergies and/or asthma.

What can you do

Even though your first answer may be not to winterize, that would be a mistake. You can still make your home energy efficient, save money on your energy bills and breathe clean air if you follow the tips below. n Use fans or open a window to prevent mould in the bathroom. n Use a cleaner that kills mould in the kitchen and bathroom. n A dehumidifier reduces the amount of moisture in the air. n Clean your home thoroughly weekly to cut back on allergens. n Use a high efficiency furnace filter and replace it every two to

three months.


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