Five Ways to Prepare Your New Construction Home for Alabama’s Artic Blast
As an artic blast approaches, it's important to make sure your new construction home is prepared to sustain freezing temperatures. Alabamians aren't used to cold weather because our winters are often mild. However, as the temperature drops, our dwellings can suffer as a result. When we build new homes in Birmingham and Auburn, we frequently hear from homeowners who want to know what steps they can take to keep their home running properly during the winter months.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your new home is ready to sustain freezing temps:
1. Check for drafts.
Drafts can be a major source of heat loss in your new home, and they can also lead to higher energy bills. To prevent drafts, check for gaps around windows and doors and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping. You can also use draft stoppers to block drafts from under doors. Also, make sure that your foundation vents and crawl spaces are closed.
2. Disconnect hoses from outside faucets.
During cold weather in order to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting you should disconnect your water hoses. Water inside the hose can freeze and expand, causing damage to the hose and potentially causing the pipes connected to the faucet to freeze and burst.
To properly disconnect the hose, start by turning off the water supply to the outdoor faucet. This can usually be done by turning a valve inside the house or by shutting off the main water supply. Once the water is off, remove any hose attachments and then gently twist the hose counterclockwise to loosen it from the faucet. Make sure to drain any remaining water from the hose before storing it for the winter.
It's also a good idea to wrap the outdoor faucet with insulation to protect it from the cold. A foam faucet cover or a blanket wrapped around the faucet can help keep it from freezing.
By following these steps, you can help prevent costly damage to your home's plumbing and keep your home safe during the cold winter months.
3. Let water faucets drip.
It is generally recommended to let your faucets drip in your new home during cold weather to help prevent your pipes from freezing. When water in pipes freezes, it expands and can cause the pipes to burst – resulting in a costly plumbing bill. Allowing a slow, steady drip of water from the faucet can help prevent this by relieving pressure that can build up in the pipes as the water freezes.
To do this, you should open the faucet that is closest to the pipes that are most likely to freeze. This is usually a faucet on an outside wall or in an unheated basement or crawl space. It is also a good idea to open the cabinet doors under the sink to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time during cold weather, you may want to consider turning off the water supply to your home and draining the pipes to prevent them from freezing. You should also make sure that your home is adequately heated to prevent the indoor temperature from falling too low, which can cause the pipes to freeze.
4. Understand How to Turn Off Your Water
If you are concerned that your pipes may freeze due to cold weather, it is important to know how to turn off the water supply to your home. This can help prevent damage to your pipes if they do freeze, as it will prevent water from flowing through them and potentially causing them to burst.
To turn off the water supply to your home, you will need to locate the main water shut-off valve. This valve is usually located near the water meter or along the main water line leading into your home.
To turn off the water, simply locate the valve and turn it clockwise as far as it will go. This will close the valve and stop the flow of water.
If you are unable to locate the main water shut-off valve, you can also turn off the water by turning off the valve on the water heater. This will stop the flow of water to the entire house.
It is important to note that turning off the water supply will also turn off the flow of water to your home's plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, showers, and toilets. You should only turn off the water supply as a last resort, and only if you are concerned that your pipes may freeze.
5. Stock up on winter essentials.
Having a few winter essentials on hand can help you stay warm, comfortable and feel prepared in case of an emergency such as a power outage. Some items to consider stocking up on include:
•Warm clothing: Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, such as coats, hats, gloves, and boots, to protect yourself from the cold.
•Heating supplies: If you rely on a wood stove or fireplace for heat, make sure you have enough wood or other fuel to last throughout the cold spell. If you use propane or natural gas for heating, make sure you have enough fuel to last until the cold weather passes.
•Non-perishable food: Stock up on non-perishable food, such as canned goods, dried goods, and other items that don't require refrigeration. This will help ensure you have enough food to last if you lose power or are unable to leave your home due to extreme cold.
•Water: If you are on a well, make sure you have enough water to last in case the pipes freeze. It's also a good idea to have a few bottles of water on hand in case you lose access to your tap water.
•Batteries and flashlights: Make sure you have plenty of batteries and flashlights in case you lose power. This will allow you to see and navigate your home if the power goes out.
•First aid kit: It's always a good idea to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. Make sure you have supplies like bandages, pain relievers, and other items that could be useful in case of injury or illness.
•Alternative heating sources: If you have a fireplace or wood stove, make sure you have enough fuel to last throughout the cold spell.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your home is ready to sustain the freezing temps of an artic blast. Stay warm and stay safe!