Prepare Now for the Upcoming Winter Months

Dated: September 14 2023

Views: 37

With colder weather approaching, conducting a thorough HVAC Inspection is critical in preparing our homes for the fall and winter seasons. 


Heating System Inspection:


·         Furnaces: Verify the condition and efficiency of the furnace. Check for any signs of wear and tear, such as rust, unusual noises, or gas odors. Cleaning or replacing air filters is often necessary.

·         Boilers: Inspect boilers for leaks, corrosion, and malfunctioning components. Ensure the system is operating efficiently and safely.

·         Heat Pumps: Check the heat pump's operation, including its ability to provide heating and cooling functions. Clean or replace filters, and inspect the outdoor unit for debris.

·         It's always best to have an HVAC professional fully inspect your units and test for carbon monoxide. 

A well-maintained and efficiently operating HVAC system can significantly enhance a home's safety, comfort, and value.




Ice dams are also a concern and a typical winter phenomenon that can occur on the roofs of buildings, especially here in Iowa. They form when a combination of factors comes into play, including snow accumulation on the roof, freezing temperatures, and variations in roof surface temperature. Here's an explanation of ice dams and how they develop:


·         Snow Accumulation: The process typically begins with a layer of snow accumulating on the roof during winter storms. This snow acts as insulation, preventing heat inside the building from escaping through the roof.

·         Heat Loss: Inadequate insulation or ventilation in the attic space can lead to heat escaping from the interior of the building. This heat rises and warms the underside of the roof.

·         Melting and Refreezing: As the warm roof surface heats up, it causes the layer of snow on top of it melt. The melted snow then runs down the roof towards the eaves, which are colder because they extend beyond the heated interior of the building.

·         Formation of Ice Dams: When the melted snowwater reaches the eaves, where the roof is cooler, it starts to freeze again. This creates an ice barrier at the roof's edge, known as an ice dam. This ice dam prevents subsequent melted snow from flowing off the roof.

·         Water Backup: As more snow continues to melt on the warmer portion of the roof, it gets trapped behind the ice dam. This pooled water can work its way under shingles or roofing materials, finding its way into the attic or interior of the building.

·         Damage: Once water infiltrates the building, it can cause damage to ceilings, walls, insulation, and even the structure itself. It may also lead to mold growth and other long-term issues if not addressed promptly.


Preventing ice dams involves improving the insulation and ventilation in the attic to reduce heat loss, which helps maintain a consistent roof surface temperature. Other preventative measures include installing ice and water shield membranes along the eaves and ensuring proper drainage for melted snow. Additionally, safely removing accumulated snow from the roof can help mitigate the risk of ice dam formation.




Now is also the time to plan should you lose power.


Here are some ideas:


Show All Family Members Your Utility Shutdown Procedures:


·         Gas and Water Shutdown: Clearly outline the steps for swiftly shutting off gas and water supplies. This should include information on locating the main shut-off valves near the gas meter and the main water line entrance.

·         Electricity Shutdown: Detail the process for turning off electricity, emphasizing safety precautions. Explain how to locate the main electrical panel and how to switch off the main circuit breaker. Stress the importance of caution when dealing with electrical systems.

·         How to Hook up and Run Your Generator: Provide guidance on how and where to hook up your generator should you not be able to make it home. Consider creating simple, easy-to-follow instructions that can be easily referenced in an emergency.

·         What to do with Items in your Freezer: If your electricity is off for a while and you don't have a generator or a way to keep your freezer running, find ways to keep your frozen food frozen. It could be as easy as placing it in a cooler with ice or just in your garage if it's below 32 degrees.


Have a List Written out of Reputable Contractors:


·         Heating and HVAC Specialists: Compile a list of experienced heating system and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractors who can promptly address issues related to furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and other heating equipment. Ensure they are available for emergency calls during the winter.

·         Plumbing Experts: Include plumbers skilled in dealing with frozen pipes, leaks, and other plumbing emergencies that can arise in cold weather. Make sure they have 24/7 availability.

·         Roofing and Insulation Professionals: Have contacts for roofing experts and insulation specialists who can assess and repair any roofing or ice dam issues.

·         Tree Removal and Landscaping Services: Given that fallen trees and branches can pose significant hazards during winter storms, include tree removal and landscaping services experienced in dealing with emergency tree removal and winter damage cleanup.

·         General Contractors: Have a general contractor on your list who can handle various home repair and maintenance needs, from structural issues to window and door repairs.

·         Emergency Contact Information: Include after-hours contact information for each contractor on your list, ensuring your clients can reach them quickly when needed.


I hope you never need them, but we live in Iowa, where our winter weather can turn on us in just a few minutes. You can plan now to be safe later.



Article by Bild a Better Business | Image from Canva

Blog author image

Shannon Feuerbach

Licensed in real estate since 2006, I have dedicated my real estate business to upholding the strict professional standards associated with being a member of the National, Iowa, and Local Associations....

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