Cosy blankets, soft socks, a good book…and a safe home is what you probably look forward to on those nights Jack Frost come visiting. Other creatures lurking in the shadows – criminals on the lookout – may be kept at bay with effective security products. Unfortunately, Old Man Winter neither dissuades those prowling criminals nor does it help homeowners find comfort. Of course, one of our best advice (no matter the season!) is making sure all your windows and doors are closed and locked to keep out Criminals and the Cold. Check out the following cold weather security tips to ensure your home is safe and warm this winter.

leaves falling in autumn for the cold seasons

1. Insulate your pipes properly

Leftover water in your pipes freezes, so the pipes expand and burst, which has the domino effect of massive damage to your home, including costly repair work and flooding and a messy cleanup.

  • Insulate your water pipes with materials such as heat tape (UL approved) and fiberglass. Otherwise, wrap pipes in layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture
  • If your sink is on an exterior wall, open the cabinets underneath it to let warm air from inside the home heat the pipes
  • Leave a trickle of water running from faucets to prevent any stagnant moisture from turning to ice
  • Shut off water valves properly
  • Aside from indoors pipes get burst-proof spigot installed, or make sure there is no water hanging out there to freeze and expand
  • Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets
  • If you won’t be home all winter, try picking up a Freeze Sensor. It’ll send an alarm to the monitoring center and your phone when the temperature gets to be too low, so you know to head on over and check the pipes. Else, have someone check your house daily to make sure the heat is still on to prevent freezing, or drain and shut off the water system (except indoor sprinkler systems)

2. Seal air leaks, install a permanent heating system or ensure you have the appropriate space heater

Save money on your energy bills while making your home warmer.

  • Purchase a space heater that’s the right size for the space you’re heating—a space heater that’s too large creates the additional hazard of unhealthy air quality
  • Also select one with a safety certification and tip-over/overheat protection
  • When using the space heater, plug it directly into a wall and don’t put anything close to it
  • Shut off the space heater when you’re sleeping or leaving
  • Take extra steps to use your heater less—not only will this present less of a hazard for you and your family, the planet will thank you for it as well! For example, put weather-stripping, caulk or expandable foam at the base of doors and around drafty windows. Invest in a couple of ugly seasonal sweaters!

3. Keep your chimney well-maintained with annual inspection and cleaning

Soot builds up over time and that debris can go up in flames and your chimney catches fire.

  • An annual inspection can even help you find structural issues or leaks before your roof gets soaking wet
  • Have your chimney flue checked for any buildup of creosote and then cleaned to lessen the risk of fire
  • Also, remember to open the flue before you light that fire

4. Clean your Gutters and insulate your roof

The weight of leaves combined with snow and ice can send your gutters crashing to the ground. Debris build-up in gutters can also lead to ice dams. Those massive, pretty icicles hanging from your gutters are actually rather dangerous due to weight, which can literally pull your gutters off your house while an unsuspecting person is busy admiring the snow-sculpture quality underneath your roof.
To prevent ice dams from forming, you need to keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. Increase ventilation, add insulation, seal off possible air leaks to be ice dam free and clean the gutters as well as fortify your roof.

5. Seal the attic

Sealing the attic is a great way to avoid heat loss through your roof in future winters.
Make sure your attic insulation is 12 inches deep. If you’re going to install a new layer of insulation over an existing one, avoid using kraft-faced insulation, which can lead to moisture problems.

6. Avoid unintentional Ice Skating and melt ice faster with salt

For your own safety and that of your friends and family, make sure no one gets hurt when walking down the sidewalk and up your driveway…unless you want to keep away unwanted guests. Bear in mind that if someone slips and falls on the sidewalk in front of your house, depending on what state you’re in and why they fell, they can sue you!

7. Provision for battery backup in case of blackouts

Ice collects on the power lines.

  • Make sure your security system including the alarm system can last a few days without powerto avoid becoming an easy target during storm-related blackouts.
  • Replace batteries of smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors.

8. Prune your trees

Snow and ice buildup on trees can cause branches to break and land on your house. If a tree is close to your home, prune its branches and cut down any low-hanging limbs before the start of the winter.

9. Install weather-proofing materials

Strong winds can cause substantial damage to your property.

  • Install wind-proofing features such as our domestic roller shutters and impact-resistant shingles
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside. This will provide an extra layer of insulation, keeping more cold air out.

10. Constant Vigilance

  • Always apply basic security measures
  • Regularly check your outdoor security equipment such as security lighting, motion sensors or outside cameras. Severe weather can damage or destroy outdoor equipment, and you may not notice until it is too late!
  • Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water, in case pipes burst. Stopping the water flow minimize the damage to your home. Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch
  • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water
  • If you lose electrical service during the winter, call your utility first to determine area repair schedules. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored
  • Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:

DO NOT operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Always pull your car out of the garage to warm. If you keep your garage door closed while your vehicle is running, you could be fatally poisoned by the exhaust fumes.

DO NOT use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.

DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home – prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.

Avoid costly repairs by doing the necessary before winter hits and call the RSG Security Team to take care of the safety & security of your family and home.