Wondering how to prepare your house for those sub-zero temps? Here are a few tips to stay safe and warm during a cold snap.
Insulate exposed water lines where possible.
Water lines in areas of your home that do not receive heat, are at the greatest risk of bursting. Inexpensive pipe insulation helps protect the water lines from wild temperature swings, and possible water damage due to bursting.
Seal drafts and air leaks around doors, windows, and electrical boxes.
Cool air is tenacious in its desire to enter your home. Problem areas include doors and windows, but cool air can also find its way in through interior walls, due to the ventilation in your attic. Wall outlet boxes, or recessed lighting cans are not sealed very well, and can allow cold air to enter the home. Gaskets can be purchased for wall outlets, and many recessed lighting cans are IC-rated, meaning direct contact with insulation is safe. be sure of course to determine whether or not your recessed light housings are IC rated.
Consider the cost-benefit of using a traditional fireplace.
There is nothing more enjoyable on a cold day than cozying up to a fire! The problem is, unless you have installed a wood stove or some sort of fireplace insert that is designed to produce more heat than it removes, you are likely not gaining any additional warmth. The oxygen that fuels the fire, comes from the warm air you just paid to heat with your furnace. In addition to consuming warm air in your home, the chimney acts as a sort of vacuum and sucks a lot of room heat straight up and out of the chimney.
Instead, close the chimney flue, and the door if it has one to help keep as much heat in your home as possible.https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2000-10-06-0010060120-story.html
Open your cabinets under the kitchen sink, or fixtures that are along an exterior wall.
Plumbing along exterior walls is vulnerable to cold weather. To help mitigate this, keep the cabinet door open to allow warm air to circulate under the cabinet and around the pipes. In addition, consider keeping the faucet to a slow drip so that the water in the pipes doesn’t have a chance to freeze.
Be prepared for a power outage.
Power outages due to extreme cold are common, and always seem to come at a terrible time. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit prepared. Food, blankets, candles, etc are some of the basics.
Learn how to shut the water off in your home.
A burst water line is a terrible experience. You can help lessen the impact of this by knowing where your water shutoff is and being able to access it quickly. If your shutoff valve is buried under items in your storage room or the closet in the basement, make sure there is sufficient room to access it in the event you need to quickly shut off the water.
If you have damage caused by cold weather, reach out to your agent!
Whether its a burst pipe, ice dams, or any other type of cold-related damage, please feel free to call us! We’re here to help.