Show Notes: Winter Home Work – On the House

Show Notes: Winter Home Work

By on December 17, 2016
winter storms

The news is full of winter weather alerts. Don’t let winter home emergencies ruin your holiday, be prepared. Looking for some great gifts for your DIYer? We have some ideas for you.

Thank you to our guest; Esther De Wolde
Chief Executive Officer of  Phantom Screens

For more information on Phantom Screens visit:


Holiday Trivia

Facts on Holiday Waste

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills (Source: EPA).


An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. (Source: CalRecycle). 


If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet (Source: CalRecycle).


Half of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products (Source: The Recycler’s Handbook, 1990). 

Holiday Trees

Approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year (Source: EPA).


About 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run (Source: EPA).


Quick Winter Roof Leak Fixes

Winter roof leaks are often attributed to fluctuating temperatures, rain, as well as the formation of ice dams. These leaks are most likely to happen during spring thaw or on mild winter days. Since the reasons for the leak can vary, how to fix a roof leak in winter will also largely depend on the type of leak along with its causing factor. For instance, repairing a roof leak around a vent will be different from addressing a roof leak around a chimney.

Emergency Roof Covering

Putting a tarp on a leaky roof in the middle of winter is perhaps the most common ways of stalling excess moisture from entering the property. This is a quick fix for roof leaks in the rain. However, placing the tarp is only a band aid solution and is at best a temporary one. The root problem of the leak will still needed to be identified once the weather improves. If you are not completely sure of where the roof leak is, then shovel any snow off, tarp the roof and wait for better weather.

Prevent Ice Dam Formation

Ice dams are formed when snow on the roof melts due to the warm, moist air moving into the attic because of an

inadequate vapor barrier. For roofs that are prone to ice dam formation, the best course of action is to avoid or at least reduce ice dam formation by adjusting humidity levels and the quantity of warm air that leaves the house. Improving the vapor barrier and securing attic air leaks is an effective way to counter this issue.

Another tip to counter this problem is to have snow cleared from the roof with the assistance of a snow removal professional.

Improve Attic Insulation

A roof leak from inside an attic can result from the formation of frost caused by warm, moist air drifting into the cold attic area. Heat from everyday chores like cooking, bathing, and laundry all add to this moisture content, causing the warm moist air to rise and enter the attic. As a result, this heat loss causes frost buildup.

Once the frost starts to melt, leaks occur causing damage to the interior of the structure. In this scenario, it becomes important to lessen the amount of air escaping into the attic as well as minimize humidity levels indoors.


Great Stocking Stuffers 

Ryobi AIR grip Compact Laser Level.  $19.95

This tool features a non-marring vacuum base that adheres to most surfaces using AirGrip technology and does not require the use of pins, tacks or tape to mount. and check out Ryobi Nation. See below for more information on this tool.

California residents:

Horizontal and vertical vials for easy leveling

  • Measures distances up to 30 ft.
  • Accurate within 1/8 in.
  • Sticks to virtually any flat, smooth surface using AIR Grip technology
  • Non-marring vacuum base for hands free leveling

Does not require pins, tacks or tape to mount

PocketMonkey®  $12.00 

12-in-1 multitool that fits in your wallet, so it’s always there when you need it. From opening bottles to adjusting screws, PocketMonkey helps you conquer life’s everyday tasks. And it’s even TSA-compliant, so you can take it with you whenever you fly.

Made in the USA from heat-treated stainless steel, PocketMonkey won’t won’t bend, break, or rust. It features:

  • Bottle Opener
  • Flat Screwdriver
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Micro Screwdriver
  • Phone Kickstand
  • Bottle Opener
  • Letter Opener
  • Door Latch Slip
  • Hex Wrenches
  • Ruler
  • Headphone wrap
  • Straightedge
  • Orange Peeler


Olympia Tools 76-509N12 15-Piece Hobby Knife Set  $19.37

  • 1-Hobby Knife Handles; 10-Different Knife Blades
  • 1-Storage Case
  • 1-Tweezers
  • 1-Clippers

1-Precision Screwdriver


Put a Freeze On Winter Fires

Residential fires are more prevalent in the winter months than any other season, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and winter home fires claim about 900 lives and inflict roughly $2 billion in property damage per year, the U.S. Fire Administration says.

The second leading cause of those fires and of residential fire deaths: heating equipment, according to the NFPA. Around 50,000 residential fires in the U.S. were blamed on heating systems between 2008 and 2010, authorities said.

Space heaters are behind a third of the fires stemming from home heating, according to federal fire officials, who added that half the home-heating fire deaths resulted from heating equipment being too close to flammable objects.

Here are some tips for staying toasty in these harsh temperatures while avoiding disaster:

  • Heating equipment and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually by professionals.
  • Anything that can burn needs to be kept 3 feet away from heat sources such as furnaces, fireplaces, portable space heaters and wood stoves.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency says portable heaters should be plugged directly into wall outlets — not into extension cords or power strips.
  • Portable heaters should be turned off whenever you leave a room and before you go to bed. And officials recommend the use of space heaters that have automatic shut-off switches, so they power down if they tip over.
  • Fireplaces should have screens that prevent sparks from spewing into the room and ashes should be cooled before being placed in a metal container.
  • Ovens should never be used for home heating.


Winterizing Your Sump Pump

Before freezing temperatures arrive, you’ll want to follow these three tips for winterizing your sump pump.

Remove Your Sump Pump Hose

If you don’t use your sump pump in the wintertime, the best thing you can do is remove the hose altogether. This prevents the hose from freezing, which would prevent you from using the sump pump anyway. Since many homeowners continue to use their sump pumps into the chillier months, remove the extension hose when the outdoor temperature dips below freezing. You can always keep an eye on the temperature and turn the sump pump back on when the cold front passes.

In the event that the hose freezes, you’ll need to unplug the sump pump and remove the water from the pit until the hose thaws completely.

Keep the Sump Pit Clear of Debris

Debris in your sump pit can damage the entire unit, so you’ll want to look for any articles that could potentially become lodged in the sump pump or clog the filter. Debris buildup should be addressed regularly because a clogged sump pit could result in a flooded basement, which is the last thing you want on your hands in the cold of winter.

Schedule a Professional Sump Pump Maintenance

Sump pumps can be finicky systems, which is why opting for professional plumbing services may be best. Technicians can evaluate and maintain your sump and ejector pumps as well as address frozen hoses and other issues


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