When winter arrives, in many places, it brings ice and frigid temperatures. Protecting your home from the elements can be quite an undertaking. Fortunately, you can use the following list to help keep your home safe from the freezing temperatures:
- Check Water Pipes: You want to disconnect outdoor hoses, shut off outdoor faucets, blow out sprinkler systems or drain lines, and insulate hose bibs (the small exterior faucets on your home).
- Fix Cracks or Holes: Make checking for holes or cracks in the exterior or around places in the home that could cause air/water leaks an annual routine. Seal any with weather stripping, caulking, or spray foam insulation before it becomes an issue.
- Inspect Insulation: The walls in your home need proper insulation. Ensure all areas have adequate amounts or add anywhere needed, including the crawl space, exterior walls, basement, attic, and pipes.
- Allow Flow: For indoor faucets installed on inadequately insulated exterior walls, let them slowly drip when the temperature drops below freezing. Allowing the hot and cold waters to flow slightly will prevent the pipes from freezing. Leaving cabinets open may help keep the pipes warmer as well.
- Accessible Valves: You must shut off the water immediately for emergency water line issues (a burst or freeze). Having the valve easily accessible and in good working order is imperative. Show every household member where to find the valve in case they need to use it.
- Find Water Meter: To shut the water meter off, you need a meter key or an adjustable wrench. Practice this so that you know how to if the off-valve ever fails. If your city has regulations against shutting the meter off, put the water department’s emergency number in an easy-to-find location should the need arise.
- Close Garage Doors: When you have an attached garage, closing it as much as you can helps protect plumbing fixtures by keeping out cold air. The pipes in the wall between the house and garage will also be safer from colder weather when the doors remain closed.
- Gutter Health: Cleaning your gutters regularly decreases the chance of ice forming on your roof. As an added protection, gutter screens or “helmets” can stop leaves from clogging the gutters.
- Attic Ventilation: Check to make sure insulation isn’t blocking your soffits or attic vents. Doing so will prevent ice dams from forming on your roof. Say no to warm air melting snow, allowing it to run down, and refreezing on the roof edges.
- Thermostat Maintenance: Always have spare batteries on hand to keep the thermostat running. Luck will have it that you’ll need them when you don’t have any.
- Prepare When Away: If you leave for an extended period during colder months, it may be wise to shut off and drain water systems. A freeze alarm to monitor the inside temperature while you’re gone may also be a good investment. Take a look at your insurance before you leave to ensure it’s current and has good coverage for damage from freezing temperatures.
LM Companies, LLC is licensed for water damage and restoration. We are available 24-7 for water, fire, and odor damage in Northeast Ohio, including all major holidays! Contact us today to begin the process of restoring your residential or commercial property.