Tips For Winterizing Your Home For Alaskan Winters

Dated: 11/04/2019

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Tips For Winterizing Your Home For Alaskan Winters

By: Chantelle Smith

Alaska is a beautiful state to live in.  During the summer we have green like you've never seen.  Our rivers and lakes are so clear.  The views from the mountain tops can take your breath away. When the snow comes, it's like a winter wonderland.  However, behind all that winter beauty can be a nightmare if you don't properly winterize your Alaska home.  Let us give you a few pointers to make sure you spend your free time this winter cozied up in front of a fireplace instead of booking repairmen.

Protect Against Frozen/Burst Pipes

With temps steadily dropping, it's time to remove all hoses from the exterior of your home to protect your pipes from freezing.  Make sure you have all outdoor water spigots closed completely.  While not always necessary, if you have quite a bit of exposed pipes on your outdoor spigots, run to your local hardware store and buy some pipe insulation. Now is also the time to make sure that everyone in your household knows where the emergency shut-off valve for your water is in case of pipes do break.  Be proactive!

Check for Drafts 

We all know that with the fading daylight and dropping temps comes the crazy wind! Check all your windows to make sure any drafts are repaired. You don't want your heater working overtime to keep a drafty home warm.  Don't forget about your crawlspace.  Check around all water and heating lines to see if they are getting a draft.  If so, use some of the pipe insulation on those lines to help prevent freezing.  

Check Alarms

Check all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  Did you know that every winter at least two Alaskans die from carbon monoxide poisoning? Make sure that the batteries in each are good. Also, make sure that whoever does the snow shoveling knows where all your vents are on the outside of your home.  Most of the carbon monoxide deaths that have happened during Alaska winters happen when the fresh air vents were not cleared of snow, so the gas had no way out of the house.  Remember that the gas is odorless, so knowing what to do and doing it properly is your safest bet.

Emergency Supplies 

We know that the weather in Alaska can change quickly.  Winter storms can mean you lose power for a day or two.  Make sure you have an emergency kit.  In these situations, well-maintained kits can be lifesavers.  Remember to include any medicines needed, baby supplies like formula & diapers, pet food, extra winter clothing, flashlights, batteries, lanterns, water, blankets, and first aid supplies. Make sure you have enough food and water for EACH family member to last at least three days.

Fireplaces

Before the first cold snap hits, you should get your fireplace inspected. Home fires occur every winter in fireplaces that haven't been used in months.  Clean and prepare your fireplaces now, before you need to use them.  Go ahead and stock up on wood now.

Don't forget!

Go ahead and stock up now on ice melt & gravel.  Make sure you've got them in an easy to get to spot for those dark and early Alaska mornings.  Go ahead and check your snow shovels.  Keep them handy.  If you use a snowblower, get it serviced now. Make sure you have extra gas stored in a warm spot.

If you've made it through the list, you are now ready for a cold Alaskan winter! You get to cozy up by the fire with a warm beverage knowing your house is protected.  

Blog author image

Suellen Appellof

In Alaska for over 43 years, Suellen is an Associate Broker at the Eagle River Office of Jack White Real Estate, as the Relocation & Referral Director, she is a member of the Valley Board of REALTORS ....

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