Pro­tect your home (and more) from win­ter’s freeze

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Freez­ing tem­per­a­tures may be good for ice skat­ing or build­ing snow­men, but sub-freez­ing tem­per­a­tures can be dan­ger­ous for the av­er­age per­son and his or her home. Cold weather of­ten leaves peo­ple scur­ry­ing to do what­ever is nec­es­sary to safe­guard them­selves from the big chill. But it’s im­por­tant home­own­ers also pro­tect their homes in cold weather.

Plumb­ing

Plumb­ing and pipes may be vul­ner­a­ble to cold weather. Frozen pipes may burst and cause sub­stan­tial dam­age to a home, po­ten­tially caus­ing flood­ing and struc­tural dam­age.

Home­own­ers should dis­con­nect and drain gar­den hoses be­fore win­ter ar­rives. Water to out­door hose bibs should be turned off, though the valves on these out­door faucets should be left open to drain. Also, out­door faucets can be cov­ered with in­su­lat­ing foam cov­ers.

The Red Cross says pipes that freeze most fre­quently in­clude pipes in un­heated ar­eas, such as base­ments, at­tics, garages, and crawl spa­ces. Close vents to the out­side in ar­eas like at­tics and base­ments to limit the amount of cold air that gets in­doors. Think about in­su­lat­ing un­heated ar­eas, as well as us­ing pipe sleeves, heat tape or wraps on ex­posed pipes.

By open­ing kitchen and bath­room cab­i­net doors, home­own­ers can al­low warm air from a home to reach pipes un­der the sink. Dur­ing ex­treme freezes, keep cold water drip­ping from a sink to pre­vent pipes from freez­ing.

Ser­vice HVAC sys­tems

It’s im­por­tant to en­sure that heat­ing sys­tems are work­ing prop­erly prior to the cold­weather sea­son. It may only take hours for the in­te­rior of a home to reach dan­ger­ously low tem­per­a­tures with­out ad­e­quate heat. Home­own­ers should sched­ule an­nual check­ups of fur­naces and hot water heaters. In­spect the heat ex­changer for cracks, in­stall a clean air fil­ter and make sure all ther­mostats are work­ing prop­erly.

Have fuel ready

Home­own­ers who heat their homes with oil, wood or coal should make sure they have plenty of fuel on hand in ad­vance of win­ter. Short­ages can oc­cur, and it may take some time for new fuel to ar­rive in the midst of a cold snap.

As a pre­cau­tion, home­own­ers can rely on portable space heaters to fill in the heat­ing gaps dur­ing freez­ing tem­per­a­tures. Ex­er­cise ex­treme cau­tion with these de­vices, turn­ing them off when leav­ing the room and re­mem­ber­ing to avoid over­load­ing out­lets.

Pro­tect out­side

Drain bird­baths, clean out down­spouts and re­move water from other items where water can freeze and cause dam­age. In­spect roof­ing prior to the snowy sea­son, but stay off roofs dur­ing freez­ing weather.

Re­move snow shov­els and other win­ter gear from stor­age and make sure the items are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble dur­ing snow­storms.

Win­ter’s bite can be se­vere. Home­own­ers can pro­tect them­selves and their prop­er­ties when the freeze sets in.

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