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Extremely cold temperatures can be very dangerous to your home if it’s not properly protected. Taking preventive measures to protect your home before winter sets in can reduce the risk of frozen pipes and other cold-weather threats. Here are a few tips to follow before temperatures dip:
- Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
- Disconnect all garden hoses from outside faucets. A frozen garden hose can cause more damage than a busted hose. In fact, it can actually burst an interior pipe. As part of your regular seasonal maintenance, garden hoses should be disconnected, drained, and stored before the first hard freeze. This even includes a “Freeze Proof” faucet.
- Keep your house above 68 degrees if possible.
- Turn off your sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to help drain them.
- Inspect fireplaces and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Drain birdbaths and fountains.
- Insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at home improvement stores.
- Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures rise above freezing.
- Have your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Don’t forget to check on the pipes to your washing machine.
- Locate the main water cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
If you have frozen pipes, here are a few suggestions:
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- If you have a broken water line, locate the main shut off valve for your home and turn it off. If you don’t know where this is, you can also turn your water off at the water meter at the road.
- Do not leave your home unattended if you suspect your pipes are frozen. Even if you can’t hear water running, the damage can come after the pipes thaw.
- Once the water is turned off, call your plumber and if necessary, your insurance agent, if damage is present.
- Locate the number of your plumber, heating contractor, water company, local fire department (not 911), and water damage cleanup company (i.e. Ron’s Carpet Cleaners or a service like Servpro). In the event that you can’t get a plumber to your home immediately to turn off the water you may be able to call your water system provider or local fire department to turn the water off.
Contact Five Star Construction if you have any questions or concerns about how to protect your home and yourself through extreme weather. We always strive to make sure our customers are 100% satisfied.