How to Winterize your Home

Posted on Wednesday June, 2010
Filed in Uncategorized

Just a friendly reminder, you cannot count on continuous electricity during the winter months here in the mountains. If your home will be unoccupied during the winter season for any length of time, I would highly suggest that you winterize your dwelling. Unfortunately, we cannot predict a snowstorm or an ice storm. With little or no warning the power can fail.

When the mercury falls below 20 degrees, accompanied by strong winds, the probability that the pipes will freeze is increased greatly. The result is often ruptured pipes followed by flooding. You can reduce the potential freezing and rupturing of your pipes by taking a few important steps. It all begins with staying alert to the possibility of freezing temperatures, then following the necessary steps:

  • Maintain the temperature in your home at 68 or 70 degrees.
  • Pipes can be wrapped with insulation that can be purchased at most hardware stores. Installation takes on minutes.
  • Pipes under the kitchen sinks are particularly vulnerable. Cabinet doors should be opened to allow heat from the home to enter.
  • Shut off the water supply to outside faucets and disconnect hoses.
  • All faucets should be checked before you retire for the night. Allow a “trickle” of water to flow from the faucet to reduce freezing.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances during power outages to avoid damages from power surges when the power is restored.
  • During a power outage, DO NOT open the freezer so the contents will stay frozen longer.
  • Shut off the water supply valves to the washing machine when away.
  • If you will be away for any length of time, ask a friend or neighbor to check your pipes, and give them a copy of these suggestions.
  • Know the location of water valves prior to an emergency. Keep the number of a plumber close at hand in case one must be called. Remember pipes do not necessarily burst the first time they freeze. It can take several instances of freezing and thawing before damage occurs. Should a pipe freeze or burst, follow these steps immediately:
  • Shut the water off at the main valve. If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
  • Should a facet freeze, you can thaw an inside faucet easily with a good hair dryer. Outside faucets, however, usually require both a hair dryer and plenty of hot water.

For your family’s protection, and the protection of others visiting your home, here are some helpful tips on winterizing your home:

  • Keep walkways, decks, and steps free of ice and snow. Use kitty litter, sand, or a de-icing substance on iced areas.
  • Remove snow build up on your rooftop, to avoid ice and snow damage on the roof and/or the interior of the home.
  • Consider an electrician installing, on the roof edge, heating cables to prevent ice barriers from forming, which will allow water to flow freely to the gutter.