5 Tips To Prepare Your Home For The Cold Winter Weather
It’s not a secret that Alabama’s weather is unpredictable. Most of January felt like an early start to Spring, but local weather expert, James Spann, says winter is far from over.
Preparing your home ahead of time for a cold snap will keep you and your family warm and operating normally. Alabamians are not familiar with frigid temperatures, since we normally have mild winters. However, when temperatures take a plunge our homes tend to suffer the consequences. Building new homes in Birmingham and new homes in Auburn, we often have homeowners ask what measures they can take to keep their home functioning properly during the cold weather. Follow these easy winterizing tips below to make sure your home functions properly during the coldest days of the year!
1. Schedule a check-up for your furnace.
Hopefully you’re already in the habit of getting your furnace checked regularly. It’s recommended that a new furnace be checked every other year, and an older furnace (10 years and up) once a year. While this is something you’ll have to call in a pro for, it should only run you around $100 to $150.
During a routine furnace exam, your HVAC professional will check for a number of factors that, if not working properly, can cause your furnace to run inefficiently and wrack up your energy bill. These include things like checking for leaks and blockages in the vent system, piping, and around any openings; checking and replacing your air filters; testing your thermostat calibration; and more.
2. Check your pipes at freezing point areas in your home.
Freezing and bursting pipes are a common and expensive frustration to many people. During cold weather, ruptured pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage, and the resulting water damage can easily cost $5,000 or more to repair.
If you know cold weather is around the corner, check your pipes in areas that are more likely to freeze than others. This could include crawl spaces, rooms without heat, basements, garages and exterior walls. Locate areas that may let cold air in like windows and doors. Try to eliminate any source of cold air that may enter your home whether it’s through insulation or fixing windows that let in cold air.
3. Insulate Your Pipes
After you’ve identified freezing points of your house and located any exposed pipes, wrap the exposed pipes with a sleeve, heat tape or insulation to prevent them from bursting.
Before you go to bed, open all your sink-based cabinet doors. This will allow heat to move closer to the wall and as a result this may keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.
4. Winterize Your Hose Bib
In the event of an extended period of severe cold weather, we recommend that you cut the water off to the exterior hose bibs (also commonly known as the outdoor faucet) at the water shut off valve. After cutting this water off, turn the hose bibs “on” so that it allows for the water in the pipes to drain and not freeze. This will eliminate the need for those cumbersome protective covers.
5. Drip Water from Faucets
When winter temperatures are below freezing, turn on faucets in your house to maintain a slow, steady drip. Turn on both the hot and cold side of the faucet. If it is a mixed valve, turn the valve to the middle to allow even flow of both cold and hot water. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
What if My Pipes Freeze?
These simple steps should help keep your house performing at its best during the coldest days of the year. However, if your pipes do freeze, test your faucets by turning them on to see if any water comes out. If water does not come out of the pipe, leave your faucets turned on and immediately turn off the main water valve. You can try to thaw your pipes with a hair dryer, but do not use anything stronger.
After your pipes have thawed, slowly turn the water back on. If this does not work, don’t panic! Instead, call a plumber or your home builder in Birmingham or Auburn immediately. To stay up to date on the latest weather reports and forecasts, visit James Spann’s page! https://www.alabamawx.com/?page_id=31752