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Posts Tagged: home maintenance checklist

Simple prep list for “northwest” winter

Posted On: Filed Under: Plumbing No Comments on Simple prep list for “northwest” winter


Thinking about disaster is never fun, and it often hits the back burner, so if time is limited just start by taking this short list of basics to the store. Stock up yourself or use it to create a great holiday gift for someone you love.

Condition Prep List
Winter Driving Chains & instructions for putting them on*
Snow shovel and ice scraper in the car
with space blanket
Check tire tread. Consider winter radials if you travel over the passes.
Have your insurance card in the car, especially if you have emergency road service coverage.
Winter Sidewalks Rock salt is environmentally safe and melts ice on driveways, sidewalks and front steps.
Check gutters to clear debris and ensure they direct water away from the foundation of the house.
Clear drains, a much city flooding comes from clogged drains.
Add weather stripping to doors to prevent water from coming in under them.
Test sump pump to ensure it is working.
Seal walls in basement with waterproofing compounds.
Power Outage Consider getting a gas powered standby generator or another alternate heating source.
Stockpile wood now for fireplace/stove.
Long burning safety candles
Batteries for the flashlight.
Keep car fueled up as power outages disable gas pumps.
Trim or remove trees on your property that could fall on your house or power lines.

Safety first! Never use portable generators or barbeques in the house – they produce lethal carbon monoxide. You can’t smell it and it can kill you.

Learn more about preparing for disasters at www.ready.gov. Washington Energy is here 365 days a year to help you stay warm and dry this winter. For more information on standby generators, or for plumbing and drain cleaning, give us a call at 800-398-4663.

*Note: chains are not recommended for use on some models of all wheel drive vehicles. Consult your auto maker.

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Is emergency planning just too scary?

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Windows, Plumbing, Insulation No Comments on Is emergency planning just too scary?

Is emergency planning just too scary?

Have you put off emergency planning because the thought of serious disaster is too scary? Our local authorities advise having 3 days of water, food, and supplies on hand and a list of other emergency items. And yet, only 30-40 percent of us do this, according to Pierce County Department of Emergency Management.

The most likely disaster scenarios in the Northwest are power outages and storm flooding. The non-profit group Take Winter By Storm. www.takewinterbystorm.org has a list of tips for creating your storm plan. Even just doing the basics of this plan is better than nothing – so don’t be overwhelmed that they have a lot on their many checklists.

In addition to water/food/first aid and a communications plan, they do recommend some preventive actions to get your house ready to weather the storms of winter. We think this is important not only for storm preparation but general maintenance of your house – and your personal comfort.

Here are the highlights from their list, and you can see the full list on their website under home maintenance checklist. These tips can help limit damage to your home, even without a big 100 year storm.

  • (We think this is the most important one on the list) Locate the electric, gas and water shut off valves in your house. Keep tools needed near gas and water shut offs and teach family members how to turn off utilities. If you turn the gas off, a utility representative must turn it back on.
  • Inspect insulation in your attic and crawl space. Seal areas around recessed lights, attic hatch, plumbing vents that may allow warm air to enter the attic.
  • Clean gutters and drains. Direct them away from the foundation and from walkways or driveways to prevent ice.
  • Check Doors and Windows for cold air coming in that may compromise your heating efficiency. Weather strip doors. Replace caulk and weather stripping that has lost contact with surfaces.
  • Check roof for loose or damaged shingles and make sure flashing is secure around vents and chimneys.
  • Plumbing pipes near outer walls or in attics and crawl spaces can be susceptible to freezing. (This is especially true for mobile homes where pipes are exposed under the house.) Insulate exposed pipes to protect them from bursting.
  • Cover outdoor faucets or replace with frost proof models. (Faucet covers are usually less than $5 and available at local hardware stores.)
  • Check your water heater, (or if in doubt get it inspected by a water heater company.) Most tank water heaters last 8-12 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may be signs of a problem. Make sure your tank water heater is located near a floor drain.
  • Have professionals check your heating or cooling system. Consider having your air ducts cleaned and filters replaced.
  • Check siding, soffits, walls and flashing for damage or looseness and secure.
  • Check foundations for signs of settling, such as bulging or shifting. Have a professional inspect cracks more than 1/8 in wide. Check siding and foundation for openings where pests can enter and seal up.
  • Keep snow build up off of surfaces that could collapse.
  • Test your sump pump to make sure it works. If you are in an area that floods and has frequent power outages, consider installing battery operated backup sump pumps.
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

You know that old “ounce of prevention makes a pound of cure” saying. We’re here to help. Washington Energy Services provides many of the preventive products and services mentioned by Take Winter By Storm’s checklist, and in case of trouble, call us 24/7 for Emergency service for plumbing, water heater and heating emergencies. Call us at 800-398-4663.

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