I have already seen a few reports of snow in the northern part of the country. Over the weekend, we had to turn on our heater for the first time because it was in the 50s outside. That isn’t super cold but it was cold enough for me to need the heater running for a few hours to warm up. I have become a whimp when it comes to dealing with cold weather. This post reminds me that I need to phone my a/c repair man to schedule our fall tune up so that our furnace is ready for the cold temperatures.
Today, I wanted to share with you 9 tips for ensuring your home is ready for winter weather.
Schedule a HVAC Tune Up Today
If you haven’t scheduled a tune up on your furnace already this fall, I highly suggest that you do this sooner than later. Most of us rely on our heating system during those brutal winter storms and it would be horrible if you encountered major problems. A tune up not only ensures that your system is ready to tackle the colder weather but it also helps prevent any major problems down the road. Most of the time problems can be caught before they happen when you take the time to maintain your HVAC system. Plus, it will help you save money in the long run.
Don’t Forget to Change Those Air Filters
I realized that I mentioned this last month but if you have monthly air filters, it is time to change those again. Dirty filters even in the winter time can create havoc on your allergies and asthma along with the dry air.
Cover Any Exposed Pipes on the Exterior of your Home
It is super important to cover any exposed pipes during the winter time. Each year, I always buy those styrofoam faucet covers. This helps insulate the exposed pipes and help prevent cold air from potentially freezing them. Don’t forget to wrap pipes in unheated areas too!
Always Leave the Heat On
During the winter time, it is important that you leave the heat on while you are gone on vacation or even during the day. It is always cheaper to maintain a constant temperature in the house; instead, of turning it down several degrees and your HVAC system has to play catch up. Never reduce the temperature in your home below 55 degrees in the winter time! Once your home dips below 55 degrees, the chances of your pipes freezing increases.
Open the Doors to the Sink
Always open the doors to the kitchen and bathroom sinks when it is below freezing outside. This will help allow heat to flow underneath the cabinets and help prevent the pipes from freezing.
Allow Your Sinks to Drip
When it is below freezing, you also want to ensure that you leave several sinks dripping water in your home. This keeps the water moving and helps prevent your pipes from freezing.
Do Keep Extra Blankets on Hand
During freezing temperatures, it is not too uncommon for the power to go out for short and even extended periods of time. Always keep extra blankets on hand for emergencies. Also, you can huddle together in one room so that you can use body heat to stay warm.
Stock Flashlights with Fresh Batteries
Dust off the flashlights and make sure that you have enough fresh batteries on hand. You might have to rely on flashlights if the power goes off especially after dark.
How to Handle Pipes Freezing
Once you have noticed that your pipes are frozen it is important, that you take the correct steps in order to help thaw them out. If possible, crank up the heat in your home a little bit or use a space heater close to the frozen pipes. Chances are you will encounter frozen pipes that run along exterior walls. Also, keep the particular faucet open so that you can attempt to get the water moving again. Running water helps melt the ice.
Never use a torch or an open flame to defrost any frozen pipes. If your pipes have burst and there is water running all over your home, turn off the water at the valve. This valve is typically near the street or inside of your home. You will want to know where it is so that you can get to it quickly if there is an emergency. Once you have located the shut off valve, turn off the water to prevent further damage. Then call a plumber to access the situation (read here for tips on how to handle a plumbing emergency). Don’t forget to call your insurance company too!
Use this post as a check list to make sure that your home is ready for winter snow storms. It isn’t super cold in Texas yet but I will be using these tips in a few weeks when I start seeing temperatures hovering just above freezing. We have had to deal with frozen pipes in our home, thankfully, we quickly noticed the problem and avoided a huge problem. Also, check out my tips for driving during the holidays too.
Photo Credit: Pixabay