Winter is here and it’s not going away any time soon! We’re all eager to be warm and cozy inside our furnace-heated homes, but sometimes the winter season comes with some unexpected and unwanted side effects.
If you’re like most people, then you don’t like your pipes freezing or your heating system malfunctioning mid-winter. In order to keep you happy and cozy this winter, here are five cold weather tips for maintaining the warmth and coziness of your home all season long.
How Do I Prepare My House For Extreme Cold Weather?
The extreme cold of winter is hard on everything: people, vehicles, homes, and everything inside the home keeping it fully functioning. There are some things you can do, however, to protect your home against the freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, and ice. These few cold weather tips for home maintenance go a long way!
1. Protect Your Pipes
Plumbing winterization is an important step in winter preparation for your house. This is often something homeowners forget to do, but there are many different things you can do to protect your home’s pipes from freezing in the winter.
First, disconnect and drain any and all garden hoses. Be sure to cover exterior faucets with foam covers to protect against rain, snow, and ice. You could even go as far as to turn off the exterior faucets and open the valves to allow any remaining water to drain out. If you have a sprinkler system, be sure it is also off and drained.
You can also insulate any exposed piping with foam pipe insulation. Be sure to keep garage doors closed. Consider leaving hot and cold faucets on in the kitchen and bathrooms on very cold nights, just at a drip to be sure water continues to flow.
Don’t forget about your washing machine pipes, your ice maker, sump pump, and any other water source to be sure the pipes are best protected. Know where your water cut-off valve is in case of an emergency. Monitor for leaks and frozen pipes regularly through the winter.
2. Keep Your Air Filter Clean Or Replace It
During the winter, your heating system is going to be working harder to keep your home warm and liveable anyway. An old, dirty air filter is a sure way to tire your system out faster than is necessary. This will not only drive up your energy bills unnecessarily, but it can also wear your system out and lead to more expensive repairs and replacements in the future. Clean and replace your air filter regularly in order to allow your unit to run more efficiently for longer. This will help you stay warm in extreme cold.
3. Do Everything You Can To Prevent Ice Dams
Winter preparation for your house includes your exterior drainage systems. When an ice dam occurs in your gutters, heat escapes through cracks in the roof and melts any snow or ice in the way, causing leaks. If the snowmelt creeping through the roof refreezes, then the cracks expand and can cause serious, expensive damage to your home.
While the icicles hanging from your gutters are beautiful, they could be a sign that your gutters have an ice dam and are in need of clearing. This dam, which can be clogged leaves or ice, prevents proper drainage. The water has to go somewhere, however, and if it’s blocked from draining appropriately, it could leak through your roof and into your home.
To avoid damage from ice dams, be sure to keep your gutters cleared, as well as the downspouts, to allow water and melting snow to drain. Seal anything that might potentially lead to a roof leak, including spaces around vent pipes, exhaust fans, attic hatches, light fixtures, and so on. If you suspect severe damage, call a roofing professional for assistance.
4. Re-seal Windows And Doors
All doors and windows have gaps. If your home isn’t brand new, then these gaps could be big enough to let warm air out and cold air in. Adding some extra caulk to your windows and installing some weather stripping to your exterior doors will greatly help your home’s insulation.
While it might be a somewhat tedious task, it’s fairly inexpensive and can serve to help reduce heating costs throughout the winter. If your windows or doors are especially old, they may be improperly insulated and might need upgrading to double- or triple-pane windows and doors to increase your home’s efficiency and help you stay warm in extreme cold.
5. Get Your Systems Inspected
If your heating system was not inspected during the fall, then it’s important you get it inspected as soon as possible. When you schedule a heating system inspection, a professional HVAC technician will come to inspect your entire heating system to identify any issues that might arise. They look for wear and tear on your system in order to address issues, prevent a breakdown, or avoid a more expensive repair down the road.
This inspection also includes a cleaning, and during the winter, an optimization of your heating system in order to be sure it runs well.
Stay Warm This Winter With Help From John C. Flood
If you are unsure how to properly complete winter preparation for your house, be sure to schedule service with the experts at John C. Flood as soon as possible. Choosing the best plumbing company for your home isn’t hard!
John C. Flood has over 115 years of experience in handling every type of plumbing problem. We recommend regularly scheduled maintenance to maximize the lifespan of your plumbing system. Call us at (703) 752-1266 today to make sure your home is ready for winter.