Chicago Winter 2017: How to Prepare Your House for the Cold

The latest Chicago winter 2017 forecast includes chilling predictions that freeze you in your tracks. Everyone remembers our record-low temperatures back in 2014. Streets iced over, pipes froze, and homeowners dug out from a total winter snowfall of 79 inches.

This year threatens to blow in with the same arctic blast, so you have to wonder: Are you doing all you can to get your home ready for another Chicago winter?

Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on the house and leave you facing burst pipes, plumbing repairs and emergency water removal. Now is the time to put up your best defense against what could be one of our worst winters yet.

A Chilly Chicago Winter 2017 Forecast

icicles on chicago house

As Chicago’s leading disaster restoration company, we know how badly snow storms can affect area homes. If the Chicago winter 2017 forecast holds up, we could be facing a 15-inch “Snowpocalypse.” You don’t want this kind of weather catching you unprepared.

Living on the shores of one of the world’s largest lakes adds to the challenge of dealing with winter. With another deep freeze just around the corner, we want to share our best tips for getting your home ready for the big chill.

10 Ways to Prepare Your House For Winter Chicago-Style

1. Check Your Landscape

storm damaged car

As you cover plants that need protection from the cold snap, take a look at the lay of your landscape. Trim any tree branches that might damage the roof or smash a window during a storm. Make sure water drains away from the house to prevent freezing that can damage the foundation.

2. Protect Outdoor Irrigation

Disconnect and drain garden hoses, and protect faucets with insulated foam covers. Outdoor sprinkler systems need to be drained too, so turn them off, and use compressed air to blow water out of the lines. Otherwise, they can freeze, rupture and flood the yard and basement.

Power Tip: Once you’ve drained a hose, pick it up, and do it again. It usually takes three passes to completely empty and winterize garden hoses.

3. Inspect the Gutter

clogged gutters

Gutters don’t cause ice dams, but they make this roof-ruining problem worse when they’re dirty and clogged. Standing water that ices up along the roof line puts a heavy strain on the system. Avoid buckled gutters and broken downspouts with a little pre-freeze cleaning.

4. Keep the Wind Outside

When it howls here in the Windy City, that cold air slides right inside your home around its windows. The freezing damp eventually damages frames, so keep it out with plastic stripping. Caulk exterior framing, and clean out the tracks when you put in storm windows so that they form a tight seal.

5. Winterize Basement Windows

chicago basement window

As you prepare the house for winter, don’t forget basement windows. A heavy Chicago snowstorm can turn them into frozen sheets of glass that radiate cold, so insulate them with bubble wrap. Simply spray the inside pane with a little water, and cover with wrap turned bubble-side against the glass.

Power Tip: This trick works on any window in the house, and it also acts as a privacy curtain that lets in light.

6. Shut Out the Cold

Inspect weather stripping on doors, and replace anything that shows wear. Check sweeps on door bottoms too. Caulk around exterior framing with an eye on how straight doors hang. Adjust hinges and strike plates to make sure doors fit snug and shut out the cold.

7. Wrap Up the Pipes

pipe insulation

Even if our Chicago winter 2017 forecast warms up a little bit, you still need to insulate all exposed pipes. Protect both hot and cold water pipes, and wrap plumbing under sinks in the bath and kitchen. Don’t forget about overhead pipes down in the basement, and check appliance connections too.

Power Tip: Boost your winterizing talents with our pipe-insulating power tips.

8. Always Stay Safe

Always stay safe by calling in a professional to inspect the furnace, fireplace and chimney. This is a good time to test smoke detectors and check fire sprinkler systems too. Take a look at our Ultimate DIY Home Winterizing Guide for details on cold-weather fire safety.

9. Program Your Home’s Warmth

thermostat program

Make sure the house stays above freezing by installing programmable thermostats to regulate temperatures. You save on energy costs and don’t have to worry about coming home to chilly interiors. Here in Chicago, People’s Gas installs these smart gadgets at no charge to its residential customers.

10. Know Where to Cut Off

If you don’t know where your main water line shut-off valve is located, find out now. Test it to make sure that it’s in good working condition. If the pipes in your home freeze, the shut-off valve is your first line of defense.

We Want You to Be Ready for Chicago Winter 2017

chicago restoration company

We hope this winter blows in a little milder than expected, but we want you to be ready. If you have special strategies for preparing your home, share with us through our Comments Section. Our online community always benefits when we exchange good ideas.

If freezing temperatures do their worst and you face any kind of emergency water removal, we’re just a phone call away. As the leading water damage restoration company in Chicago and the suburbs, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba stands ready to serve 24/7 all year-round.

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