The summer is officially over, and now the colder months are almost upon us. Are you a homeowner who lives in an area that is prone to heavy snowfall or icy temperatures? If so, you might want to think about getting your home prepared for winter. The harsh weather conditions that occur in winter are not only potentially uncomfortable; they can also cause severe damage to your home. Roofs, windows, doors, and pipes are all at risk due to freezing temperatures and snow. Here are a number of valuable tips that will help you to freeze-proof your home in preparation for the coming months:
Prevent Freezing Pipes
One of the ways you can freeze-proof your home is to prevent freezing pipes. Burst pipes are a nightmare for any homeowner, and can cause a number of problems that are both expensive to fix and detrimental to the overall condition of your home.
The location of the pipes in your home can affect how likely they are to freeze. The pipes that are most at risk include exposed pipes that appear in areas which do not get a lot of heat, pipes in exterior walls, and any plumbing in general that are on the outside. This is because these areas are going to be most vulnerable to the cold temperatures during winter.
One of the first potential problems you should address is your garden hose. It is very exposed, and can wreak havoc on your entire plumbing system if you fail to freeze-proof it. If your garden hose freezes during snowfall or other harsh weather conditions, it can actually burst pipes inside your home. For this reason, a frozen garden hose is actually worse than a burst garden hose. Because of this, when you are preparing your home for winter, you should disconnect, drain, and store your garden hose before the icy weather arrives.
Another good tip related to this is making sure to remember to close off valves. If you don’t have spigots that are frost-proof, you should close the interior valve leading to the faucet and install a faucet insulator. A faucet insulator costs only a few dollars and will help to protect your pipes this coming winter.
After freeze-proofing exterior plumbing, your next step is to look for interior pipes that are exposed. Your attention in this respect should be focused on exposed pipes in cold rooms. Check your attic, crawl space, and garage for any exposed pipes, as these rooms are at greater risk of freezing. Exposed pipes in a basement are not really an issue, because the basement usually appears in a heated portion of the home.
There are two easy solutions for interior exposed pipes. First, if the weather is cold but not too severe, foam pipe insulation should do the trick. You simply wrap your pipes in the foam to raise their temperature a bit so they are less likely to freeze. If you’re expecting a particularly harsh winter, on the other hand, you might want to invest in some thermostatically controlled heat tape. This is tape which you wrap around the pipes in question. It’s a clever trick because the tape actually acts like a mini heating system. When the pipes reaches a certain minimum temperature, the tape will turn on and heat the pipe up so it doesn’t freeze.
If you want to be particularly careful, you should then cover the heat tape around the pipe in the standard foam insulation. This is because heat tape is meant to be insulated as well, so that it can effectively keep the pipes from freezing.
Preparation and Organization
Preparation and organization are two words that are key to getting your house ready for winter. There are a number of low cost tricks for preparing your home for winter. If you simply do some small DIY tasks around the house, you will not only be freeze-proofing your home, you will also be a lot more comfortable when the cold weather hits. As a homeowner, you are aware of the weak points and imperfections found around your house. Gaps, leaks, and drafty areas scattered throughout different rooms should all be examined and repaired while the weather is still relatively mild. For example, if there are gaps beneath your baseboards which contribute to drafts getting in, now is the time to either invest in better quality baseboards or some form of sealant that closes the gap at the bottom.
Insulation has been around since the middle ages, although it is much more advanced in modern times. It comes in many forms and can be created using a wide variety of materials. One of the most important places in your home with regards to insulation is your attic. Attic insulation ensures that your home’s heating system during winter is much more efficient. This will reduce your energy costs and ensure maximum comfort during the winter months. Making sure your house is well insulated is one of the best ways to freeze proof your home.
In preparation for the coming winter, it’s a good idea to get a professional to take a look at your attic. It is such an important component with regards to maintaining your home. It helps to protect both the roof and interior walls, making it one of the most high priority areas for freeze-proofing your home. Insulating your attic properly is the number one best way to keep the heat in your home. Not only this, but an attic that is correctly insulated will help you save a significant amount on your energy bill. If you’re living in an older house, or have never got around to examining the quality of insulation in your attic, it’s time to check it out before the icy weather arrives.