Winter is here…how prepared is your home?

Like any place in the north, winter in Pittsburgh brings its beauty and its bitterness. Yes, constantly shoveling snow is annoying. And yes, taking 30 minutes to get 4 layers of clothes on your kid to walk 30 feet to the car puts a damper on your day. But winter can go from an annoyance to ‘oh my gosh I can’t believe this is actually happening to me’ to life threatening pretty quickly. We talked to some local home improvement professionals to ask them what Pittsburgh residents should be doing to make sure their home gets through the winter in great shape and keeps you warm and comfortable throughout!


Check your roof

Our friends at Hausler Roofing gave us some great advice for our roof as winter approaches. “Make sure you have your roof inspected in the fall,” Mr. Hausler said. “Even minor issues can become massive problems once temperatures drop and put pressure on your roof. If you think about it, your roof is almost always underseige. But in the winter, ice and snow can tilt the balance against you and towards Mother Nature. Once the problem worsens, water can easily get into your attic and cause a lot of problems.”

If you have the skills (and can keep yourself safe!), walk your roof and look for any damaged shingles. Repair the little stuff so it doesn’t turn into big stuff!


Make sure you have proper insulation

Insulation serves many purposes. Not only does it help make your home more comfortable, but it makes it more energy efficient. And its benefits don’t stop there. What most homeowners don’t realize is proper insulation prevents ice dams. Ice dams occur because heat escapes through your ceiling and then rise to your roof deck. Once that warms up, it melts the snow, which then drips down until it reaches the overhang of your roof (which remains cold because it doesn’t sit on top of your hot attic). Once there, it freezes and forms an ice dam. Why should you care about ice dams? “Ice dams can do a number of things to your home…none of them good,” said Mark Distanio of RestorationEze. “First, they can ruin your gutters. That can be expensive to replace or repair depending on the amount of damage. But second, they can greatly reduce the useful lifespan of your roof. But lastly, they can cause a lot of water damage in your attic that could either fester and lead to black mold or even drip through attic and into your home. There’s a lot of temporary fixes for ice dams, but without making sure hot air stays in your home and cold air can stay on your roof deck, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

Here’s a great video explaining the relationship between your heater, your attic, insulation, your roof and water damage and mold:


Have your heater tuned-up

This should be a no-brainer every fall, but very few people actually do it. Make sure you get your heater tuned-up each fall. Not only will it hopefully prevent any problems from occurring when you need the system to function the most, but it will extend the lifespan of your heater. And if you’ve ever paid for a furnace or boiler, you know how expensive they can be!

The Pittsburgh Rundown

One thing we love about our city is all of the amazing things it has to offer. In fact, there are so many amazing things about Pittsburgh that you couldn’t possibly see or experience them all even if you spent your lifetime trying. So one thing we like to do is help you identify off exciting new restaurants, events, service opportunities, museums, and everything else that we love about Pittsburgh.

When it comes to living, working and playing in a big city like ours, balance is key. Work to hard and you never get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Play too hard and that job might slip out from under you. So what are some fun things you can do in Pittsburgh?


Hit up a Steelers game!


If you’ve ever been to a Steelers away game, you know how die-hard the fan base really is. Sometimes away games almost seem like home games for the Steelers, so can you imagine what a home game is like. It’s intense! Whether we’re in the playoff hunt or struggling through a season, going to a Steelers game is something you must do, whether you live here, are just visiting, and regardless of whether you are a fan of the team!


Phipps Conservatory


Phipps_conservatory_0While most people don’t think of botanical gardens when they think of Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory is considered one of the premier gardens in the country. Whether you just decide to pop in for a morning stroll, attend one of the many events held at the gardens, or want to hone your craft by attending one of the many classes that take place there, it’s truly a crown jewel of the city. Phipps Conservatory is also a great place to take the kids as they have a wonderful children’s section with tons of activities and learning experiences. If your kids are anything like ours, they’ll love exploring all the gardens has to offer and will leave having learned about a lot of new things and seen living organisms they had never any dreamed of.


Visit Mount Washington

When we talk about viewing Pittsburgh from up above, Mount Washington certainly fits the bill. Mount Washington is actually not a mountain at all, but rather a neighborhood on the south side of Pittsburgh that has a steep incline that once atop, allows you to get a beautiful view of the downtown area. How pretty is the view, you ask? It was actually rated the #1 urban vista in the US by USA Weekend Magazine. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it…San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge? Nope. Honolulu from the rain forests perched above it and overlooking the ocean? Nope. Right here in Pittsburgh…imagine that!


Explore the Carnegie Museum of Natural History


dinosaurLet’s be frank: if you can’t get excited about exploring this massive natural history museum, you may just have a screw or two loose. It costs around $20 for adults but it’s so big you could spend an entire day exploring its halls and not even scratch the surface. From dinosaur exhibits to minerals and gems, to exploring various architectural styles, the list of amazing exhibits and artifacts is virtually endless. And with new temporary exhibits coming all of the time, there’s no reason this shouldn’t be something you visit multiple times!


So what’s your favorite place to visit in Pittsburgh? Be sure to tell us in the comments section!