Tips for Winterizing Your Home During One of the Coldest Seasons in Recent Memory
All across the nation, meteorologists are predicting record-breaking low temperatures this winter – or at the very least, colder weather than many of us can remember. As word spreads that Florida’s citrus crops will be threatened by repeated Arctic blasts and we all suffer through the teeth-chattering and bone-chilling side effects of this frigid season , our homes are at great risk of falling victim to the glacial temperatures, as well. Homes in the South are often particularly at risk, as water pipes are sometimes located in unprotected areas of the home and homeowners are not as well prepared as some of our Yankee counterparts. Because major freezes only occur one to two times a year here in Georgia – if at all – we may forget to do the simple things to protect our homes against unnecessary winter damage and expense.
While fall is very often the best time to plan ahead and protect your home for the cold season, there are still a handful of ways you can safeguard your house and your family against winter’s chill:
- Water pipes often burst because of a buildup of ice in the line and the consequent increase in water pressure between the water source and the freeze. A VERY SIMPLE way to safeguard against this during winter’s coldest nights is to set your faucets to drip – no need for a steady stream but a drip – particularly on days/nights when the temperatures dip below 20 degrees F and there is a cold, blustery wind blowing outdoors. Keep in mind – it is not outside the realm of possibility for pipes to burst in temperatures over 20Ëš F, as well. While this is not an ironclad defense against freezing, it will relieve some of the water pressure buildup in your pipes. For those who are environmentally conscious, you may only wish to set the faucets to drip where you know the pipes are unprotected/at higher risk. You may also want to open your cabinet doors under sinks to let the warm air flow through as an added precaution.
- When you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, chances are your pipe is frozen. You only have a couple of options – search for the exposed area of the pipe and try heating it with a handheld hairdryer or CALL A PROFESSIONAL. The second option is very often the best – you really don’t want to take any chances on your pipes possibly bursting, ultimately leading to the need for a plumber anyway. Highlight Homes/Highlight Home Restoration is highly skilled in many areas of home design and renovation – including plumbing – and we serve the entire Metro Atlanta area and surrounding region. Keep our phone number handy – (678) 873-9234. If you choose to tackle this problem with hairdryer in hand, first make sure you are not standing in any water – then heat the pipe slowly, with the spigot open, from the faucet end of the pipe to the coldest area. GOOD LUCK!
- If you are headed out of town and suspect that cold weather may be approaching, you may want to reconsider turning off the heat to save money. You can still cut it down, but leave it around 55 degrees F to be safe. A better solution may be to turn off the water while you’re away. Locate the main valve, shut it off and then drain the remaining water in the system by running your faucets. It’s also a good idea to know where your main valve is located in the event that your pipes actually DO burst and you need to turn the water off right away!
- Outdoor spigots should be drained of water and protected, as well. Remove any garden hoses, shut off the main water valve and then run the spigot until all the water is out of that particular pipe. Purchase faucet covers for added protection – often found at your local hardware or home improvement store. Take additional special precautions for sprinkler systems by purging them of all water, as well.
- Unfinished basements are sometimes riddled with exposed pipes – and since heat rises, your basement is often the coldest part of your home. All exposed pipes should be covered in insulation – but for a quick fix, you can also use newspapers and duct tape. It might be a great time to finish that basement! Highlight Homes/Highlight Home Restorations can help! Call us TODAY at 678-873-9234.
- Other ways to prepare your home for frigid weather include:
- Have your furnace inspected by an HVAC professional ASAP.
- Prep your fireplace for a toasty fire by calling a chimney sweep to check for creosote and soot (if you don’t have gas logs – make sure you have plenty of firewood on hand).
- Inspect the exterior of your home for openings – use weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows to prevent cold air from seeping in.
- Check your gutters – if they are full of debris, clean them out. Ice buildup in your gutters could lead to costly roof damage.
- Check all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand (if it’s older than 10 years, you should replace it).
- Place a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
- Trim back trees if branches hang too close to the home or near power lines.
- Prepare an emergency kit, just in case the power goes out. Make sure it includes flashlights, candles, matches/lighter, and phone numbers for your utility companies. It’s wise to have plenty of blankets, water and non-perishable food on hand, as well.
The experienced team of professionals at Highlight Homes/Highlight Home Restoration is here to help you prepare your home in any way we can. We will carefully inspect your home and point out the areas at greatest risk. In the unfortunate event that your pipes burst or a tree falls on your roof, we can also assist you in restoring your home to its original beauty (or even add on a little something special in the meantime!) For more tips and solutions to safeguarding your home this winter, we invite you to call us at (678) 873-9234. To learn more about Highlight Homes/ Highlight Home Restoration, please visit our website at http://www.highlighthomesga.com.
We wish you and your family a Warm and Happy Winter Season!
Special thanks to our friends at weather.com for providing many of the tips and suggestions above!