Heating – plugged exhaust and venting
First you have to determine what type of furnace you have. High efficiency furnaces have exhaust lines made of white PVC, medium efficiency (or slightly older ones) exhaust lines made of ABS, both usually located on the side of the house, near the location of the furnace. Make sure nothing is blocking these exhaust lines or HVAC system can be choked. If your heating system has fresh air intake, clean around it as well.
Low efficiency furnaces or older ones are exhausted through the roof and are running hotter and should melt away snow and ice. Do a visual inspection and if you will find blockages or damages to the exhaust, seek professional help, unless you have proper equipment and training to perform work at heights.
Trapped water in plumbing system
To prevent outside pipes from freezing and splitting, disconnect garden hoses (typically there is one connection at the front – garage side and one in the backyard) and drain them. Majority of the homes have shut off valves inside the house, newer homes will have drain bleeder (to get rid of the water between inside and outside valves). If your houses doesn’t have bleeder, first shut the valve inside the house, then open outside one to get rid of the water trapped between. Any other plumbing lines outside the house (non heated areas) needs to be shut off and can be purged using compressed air.
Ice damming if the roof
It’s very important to clean gutters and eavesthroughs before below zero temperatures will hit your house, if you will have gutters clogged (leafs, tree branches etc.), water will back up and freeze and spread along the bottom of the roof. Also if your roof drainage system will freeze (water expands when frozen) it will crack and might breakaway from the house. Eco friendly de-icer can be used to melt away the ice and damaged gutters & eavesthroughs, so they can be cleaned and repaired.
Attic (blown in) insulation needs to be minimum 1 foot, otherwise heat from your home will escape, snow will start to melt, refreezing and resulting in ice damming of the roof. This can lead to water penetration under the shingles and enter the roof structure, resulting in mold and roof damage.
Once ice damming occurs, one shouldn’t try to deal with repair himself, ask professional to fix the issue.
Colder weather comes with holidays and outside Christmas decorations. Before installing lights or any other electrically operated devices, make sure all plugin wires are not frayed or damaged. If you live in the older home and outside receptacles are not Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), it would be a great idea to upgrade either receptacles or breaker, because it will disconnect power in case of any electricity leakage before electrocuting a person.