"It's pretty common for people not to take steps to winterize their home," said Brian Marcy, a home inspector at Grand Home Inspection.
With high-powered furnaces, the intake and exhaust pipes can get clogged by heavy snow and ice, Marcy said.
"The best thing to do is to make sure they're unobstructed [because] a clogged intake will limit the ability of the furnace to fire," he said. "And a clogged exhaust could allow carbon monoxide to enter into the home."
Both Marcy and the Grand Rapids Fire Department (GRFD) recommended people have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of the home and never use a stove for heat.
"[With] alternative heating methods, use the appropriate appliance in your home," said Lt. William Smith of GRFD. "Never have anything combustible around your space heater."
When the heat is running properly, icicles form on the roofs from melted snow causing potential hazards, Smith said.
"Those things are falling off, [and] you could get hit with them," he said. "But as those things fall off, they'll thaw and they'll melt. So make sure that you're not creating a slip-and-fall hazard."
All fittings and accessories of the hose need to be removed from the front yard to allow the water to drip out, Marcy said.
"The hose should [also] be turned off inside," he said. "If it drops down below freezing and there's water in the pipes, you could freeze, break a pipe and then have flooding or water damage."
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