Whitford Insurance Network On Preparing Your Home For Winter Weather
Many people worry about keeping their home safe during winter weather, as well as keeping their heating and repair bills as low as possible during those cold months. It is important to know the proper procedures for home maintenance, especially when the temperature drops below freezing, to prevent expensive consequences.
The Insurance Information Institute has compiled a list of things you can do to keep your house safe and your risk for major repairs low.
Keep the house warm. Set the thermostat for at least 65 degreessince the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing.
Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. This can result in a collapsed roof, and can contribute to ice damming. Ideally, the attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces can help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms such as garages to keep pipes from freezing.
Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately. Wrap exposed pipes with heating tape.
Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect the system against increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.
Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly. Residential fires increase in the winter, so it is important to protect your family with working alarm systems. Also, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector, since a well sealed home can trap this toxic gas.
Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage. If damage is discovered, have it repaired now rather than waiting for a problem to occur. Also, ask about ways to prevent water damage due to snow-related flooding. Plastic coatings for internal basement walls, sump pumps and other methods can prevent flood damage to your home and belongings.