Brrrr. The temperature is starting to drop outside, with the first official frost of the season on its’ way. Are you ready? More importantly, is your home ready?
It is no coincidence that winter time is Helpers’ busiest time of the year for indoor flood calls. Plummeting temperatures, lack of preparation or deferred maintenance can put your property at risk.
Check out this 5 Point Checklist to run through to help prepare your home for the winter:
Maintain Outdoor Plumbing Fixtures: Outdoor hose spigots are a significant source of home water damange in the winter. If you have an indoor shut off control make sure you turn this off and follow any instructions to drain lines before freezing temperatures arrive. If you cannot turn spigots off internally, you can replace them with freeze and frost proof spigots or cover them with foam faucet covers to prevent freezing. This includes outdoor showers or dog washes (if you are lucky enough to have them).
Insulate Piping: Any plumbing that is located in an unheated area of your home such as an attic, basement crawl space or garage, as well as pipes that are located close to an exterior wall, are at greater risk for freezing. Installing foam pipe insulation can help reduce freezing risk.
Kitchen plumbing located on an exterior wall can be warmed on really cold nights by opening the cabinet doors and letting additional heat in. If you live in an older home or have areas of your home that have poor insulation, you can add foam or fiberglass insulation to hold in the heat. Caulking and spray foam can be used in smaller spaces to keep the cold out.
Protect Your Home When You Are Away: Planning on escaping the cold for a warmer destination? Make sure your home will be safe while you are away. Houselogic recommends setting your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees and turning off your main water supply. They also suggest draining your water lines by running water and flushing toilets. If you have a heating system that relies on water or a fire suppression sprinkler system, consult a plumber before you take this step.
Clean Your Eaves-troughs: Your eaves-troughs can clog with leaves and other debris creating dams for water. These dams can freeze and expand which can not only damage the troughs themselves, but can also cause water to back up into your home. If you have a low sun exposure area, you can add heat tape the length of a drain pipe, eave or in an area of the roof line to prevent ice build up.
Close Crawl Space Vents: During the summer, moisture build-up in crawls spaces is prevented by opening vents located around the perimeter of the space. Because winter months tend to be dryer, starting around October, these vents can be closed in the winter to reduce cold air entering your home. Be sure to open them back up in the spring before moisture can begin to build up in the space. Also, DO NOT close off any venting that is installed to vent furnaces or appliances!