Winter sure can be wonderful! When a home is healthy, cold temperatures can lead to cozy moments. Conversely, when homes aren’t structurally sound, or have maintenance issues during the winter months, it can negatively impact the safety and wellbeing of families.
Part of our mission at SERCAP is to ensure families have access to structurally sound housing. Sometimes, this means we help families build a new home from the ground up. Other times, we come alongside families to make repairs and correct issues within their home. While this is something we do year-round, there are special considerations during the cold, winter months.
Our overarching goal is to make sure the people living in rural communities have homes that are warm, safe, and dry. As our Rural Housing Specialist, Kenneth “Kenny” Rodgers recently shared, “those are key areas of problems in any home at any time of year, but even more so during the winter.”
As temperatures cool down and we find ourselves well into winter, it is time to pause and consider how to care for your home. Kenny has advice and insight to share on home maintenance during the winter months.
Chimney & Stove Pipes
Now is the right time to check for cracks. Kenny explained cracks, “may allow embers to start fires or allow smoke into the home.” Both of which can be harmful to your health or worse, could result in a house fire.
Roof or Gutters
Kenny explained it is important to “fix roofs and gutters to keep water in areas that they are designed to be in, flowing down the roof and through gutters and not through the roof and behind the gutter.”
In and around our local communities, one thing that many homes lacks is proper insulation. Because many homes are older and drafty as is, updating the insulation can create safer, more economically stable situations for homeowners. Even if insulation cannot be added directly, there are many ways to seal windows and doors that can make it much easier to heat your home in Winter.
Often there are problems with fossil fuel devices not operating properly or not having proper ventilation. This can be a very serious issue. Kenny said, “When these devices are not operating properly, there is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which we hear about too often in the winter months.” Not only should you check to make sure your heating devices are working properly, we also strongly suggest the purchase of a carbon monoxide detector, as an additional layer of safety.
In addition to these very specific areas to consider, when making sure your home is ready for the cold months ahead, Kenny has additional perspective of living in rural areas during the winter. He shared:
Power outages during the winter in rural areas are difficult because most heat sources require electricity to blow the heat through the home and water is pumped by an electric well pump. Long periods without electricity can result in no water and no heat for rural homes. This is made even more critical if the residents require electrical devices for health reasons to live, like an oxygen breathing machine. For those finding themselves in these important and potentially life-threatening situations, there are always experts to find alternatives to these issues.
Before the winter season progresses, take a moment to pause and consider key areas of your home that should be inspected or require maintenance. Remember, our goal is for you to have a warm, safe, and dry home not only this winter, but all year round.