Winterize homes & businesses ~ frozen pipes & fires in Scarsdale 10583

Home Builder with Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon Fire/Water Certified


Preventing frozen pipes and fires by winterizing

Scarsdale homes and businesses, NY 10583


winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county
The snow is not flying yet in Scarsdale 10583,so now is the best time to think about securing your home and business for the cold, winter months ahead.  The holidays are upon us and Happy Chanukah to all, as well as a joyous holiday season and New Year.  But, don't let a fun season be dampened by a frozen pipe break or an unattended candle fire in a home, or at your business party.

We are having an unusually warm December, but forecasters say we may have cold temps again by January.  No polar vortex type deep freezes this winter, due to El Nino conditions, but pipes that are warm, then cold, then warm again are at the most risk all winter.



winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county 


This is the next edition of Hillary's Helpful Home Safety Tips - 10 top ways to ready your home for Winter!


winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester countyCozy up your cold pipes in basements and even bathrooms along an exterior wall, by using insulated wraps. These pipe covers are about $1 per foot or $7 / each, at your local hardware store!  Scarsdale Hardware has all these great items...see Mike!




We have more ideas and precautions for you below, that you can use at home or work, to avoid a flood or fire!  

No candles ANYWHERE, that are not enclosed in glass jars -- like Yankee Candles or others sold at local hardware and gift stores.  It's just not worth the risk to have a taper or other open flame going in any structure!  Another, safer lighting option is an oil hurricane lamp, but we have cleaned up tragic fires, due to spilled oil and matches. So, please be careful about adding oil to lamps or any unattended candles, especially near curtains, or around young children.


winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county


Most of us know that preparing our home for winter is for safety and can keep your energy bills down.  When we have to wear gloves in our homes, it's time to take care of winterizing our home or business, where we own or manage the building.   However, knowing exactly how to prep our homes for winter isn’t always easy, and there’s a lot more to think about than you might expect.


There are TEN steps for winterizing your home, so you’ll be more than ready for the season’s dropping temperatures.


winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester countyInsulate and then Insulate some more!  This is a given because we want to keep the cold air out and the warm air in, and insulating is the way to do that. Before you start feeling like a pro at preparing your home for winter and skip to the next point, stop for a second and think about all of the different places that you’ll need to insulate. Walk around your home and keep an eye out for cracks around windows, doors, cabinets, etc.

 What you'll need:  Caulk, caulking gun, weather stripping, insulation, foam sealant, patience

Also, be sure to scope out your weather stripping situation and make sure those little spaces around your doors are as airtight as possible. Take a trip to the attic and check on the insulation situation there. Look for those little spaces around outlets and recessed lights. You’ll probably find some unexpected surprises. The U.S. Department of Energy has some on it's website, too.


It's all about your windows:    

 In a typical single story home or building, you can lose more than 20% of heat because of older, or unsealed windows.  However, changing out or buying new windows isn't the most affordable or fun home improvement.  

 So, while you have that insulating tape out from the leak catching above, and before our temperatures start to plummet, you'll be glad you took a weekend morning to seal windows.  Upgrading to double paned windows is another option and can make a big difference on your energy bills.  These upgraded windows keep out the cold better than our older, single paned varieties.  If you're not sure you want original, single paned windows to go -- and hate the look of vinyl replacements on older homes, like I do -- than you can install storm windows.


Our 1896 Fleetwood home, near Bronxville, has most of its orignal, tall wood framed and single paned windows.  But, previous owners added storm windows that we drop down each winder to give us a double paned energy effect.  Hire a paid pro, especially for those 2nd and 3rd story windows and your safety.  What you'll need:  Window access  (ladder?), caulk and sealing tape for loose panes or older, wooden windos, plus storm windows, an installer (or a lot of ambition)


leaves in gutter

Get those gutters cleaned:  

Dealing with gutters are far from our favorite maintenance job at our home, or at an office building that we own or manage. Cleaning them just downright sucks.  But, to prevent a flood or icing issue over the winter, when it's worse, try to motivate yourself to get all those fall leaves out of your gutters.  When that February snow falls away from your house instead of onto it and your roof does not leak, it will be a relief!

You also have better odds of not dealing with ice dams and any related water damage caused by the dreaded clogged gutter issues this winter.

What you'll need:  Work gloves, bags for leaves, replacement gutters (if necessary), ladder, balance and coordination

(Ice dam along gutters and roofline, requiring a snow rake,to prevent roof leak or damage) 

winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county

Shut down those leaks:  

Outside vents left open can bring in a ton of cold air during the winter. Take a walk around your property and close any that you see. If you have rooms that you don’t typically use, close the doors to those as well.  What you'll need:  A good coat to keep you warm while you’re braving the cold outdoors and circling the outside of your home!

(You may have to print this out and enlarge for the points noted above, or go to for orginal)



Take Care of the Trees:  

Maybe all of the leaves have already fallen off and your trees are looking like sad, naked stick figures, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t potential hazards. Trim any branches that are near your home, and you won’t have to deal with roof damage if a big storm hits.  What you'll need:

 Tree trimmer, lawn bags, willing assistant


Filter out your furnace:  

If you’re terrified of the noise-making, heat-producing, human-sized thing in your basement, get over it. Scoping out your furnace is key to keeping warm all winter (and cool in the summer). It’s recommended that you change your furnace filter monthly to prolong its life and help it do a better job. If the filter looks dirty and is difficult to see through when held up to the light, it’s time to change it. Luckily, this isn’t a difficult or expensive task – some filters can be picked up for around $20.  What you'll need:  The correct size and type of furnace filter, fearlessness!

Clean Chimneys prevent fires!!:  Handing out the cash to have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected is worth every penny, promise.  What's your deductible for a house fire, $1,000 or $5,000?  This definitely isn’t the place to cut corners. The National Fire Protection Association found that the failure to clean creosote each year (which is what your chimney inspector will look for) can cause fires (check out NFPA's informative site).  

winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county

Until I moved to Westchester from a home with an HVAC unit and no oil or boiler, I did not realize that our chimney plays a big role.  Boilers expel creosote and other particulates through our chimney flu -- really not GREEN, but it's a given in NY state homes.  I just thought the flu was for our cozy fire in our home.

This build-up of greasy residue from a “solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys” was the main cause of home heating fires in recent years, if not maintained, per the NFPA.   National Chimney in Yonkers is just one Chim, Chim Chimney Sweep service  -- like in the movie.  What you'll need:   A good chimney sweep and a copy of "Mary Poppins" to watch near your cozy fire, after the flu is cleaned and safe!  

Is your outdoor lighting efficient?  

Replacing your outdoor bulbs with energy-efficient models can save you some serious $$$, over the course of the year -- especially during the darker, early winter months.  This may counteract the energy costs of your award winning,  2 million watt holiday lighting that draws neighbors and news crews to your lawn.  The U.S. Department of Energy ( has some great tips on upping your home’s outdoor efficiency level.  What you will need:  Energy-efficient bulbs, gloves, a reminder to turn lights off before conducting upgrade.


Snuggle up with your exterior water pipes:  

Ever been outside in the freezing winter weather without a jacket and thought you would soon become a Popsicle? Your pipes feel the same way. Winterize your plumbing by giving your outdoor pipes a nice winter jacket (of sorts), is wise, in order to prevent a major frozen-or-burst pipe headache on New Year's Day.  This is heat tape that works to keep your pipe's tempature uniform. What you will need:  Foam insulation, pipe dreams, pipe wrap, heat tape {As shown in photo above). 

winterize home fire flood ice dam leak prevent tips scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county

Relax this winter and enjoy all the hard work!:

What good is winterizing your home if you don’t kick back and enjoy it?  Grab a cup of hot cocoa, put on some cozy slippers, and pat yourself on the back for being a responsible homeowner. You earned it.  

What you will need: 

cup of hot cocoa, optional popcorn, warm socks, an optiona roaring fire and / or a good movie, or book, an optional fuzzy blanket, a cozy seat and the chance to take a deep breath! 


Enjoy the holidays, Happy Chanukah to all, or "Chanumas" in our blended family &a Great New Year' -- in your safe, winter tight home, or biz!


fire water damage flood 911 emergency mold mildew removal scarsdale ny 10583 westchester county~ Forrest & HIllary Sheperd & our great crews & staff at

Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon


Posted by


Hillary Sheperdfire water mold cleaning restoration flood soot puffback scarsdale mount vernon, ny

Vice President / Co-Owner, 

Servpro of Scarsdale /Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, NY  10550


Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon

Flood, fire, mold remediation


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Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Great tips, Hill.  I'm so glad it hasn't gotten really cold yet.  I'm not looking forward to Jan/Feb.

Dec 20, 2015 06:53 PM #1
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Oh and cute picture of the fire.  It that you and Forrest?

Dec 20, 2015 06:53 PM #2
Hillary Sheperd
Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon - Scarsdale, NY
Co-Owner ~ Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon, NY

Thanks, belatedly, Debbie.  NOpe, not us, we don't have a working fire place here...someday soon, we hope.  We just need to finish this and sell it.  Need this REBLOGGED as just lost one for Tuckahoe on water main breaks flooding buildings in 3 Westchester towns in the past week.


Jan 28, 2016 01:11 AM #3
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Sometimes banks winterize homes after the pipes froze. Always inspect the plumbing even if the house was winterized.

Jun 09, 2018 10:14 AM #4
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Hillary Sheperd

Co-Owner ~ Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon, NY
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