We don’t get freezing temperatures often in this area but the following important tips can help you get through it without a hitch. Some of this advice may seem pretty basic or obvious, but better to be obvious than let potential accidents happen.
Pipes – Exterior pipes in this area are subject to freezing if the temperature stays below freezing for extended periods of time. Frozen pipes have a potential to burst. To keep this from happening allow the faucet to drip slightly. Letting a faucet drip keeps the system open which relieves the pressure in the system which will keep them from bursting. You only need to let them drip through the night, once the temperature rises during the day you can shut them off. This will typically apply to exterior faucets on older homes that don’t have frost free stems.
Heating Systems – Run your heat. If you don’t like a heater or think you can brave through without it running don’t. Pipes in your attic, walls and other exposed areas will benefit from the heat being on in your home and reduce the chance of them freezing. If you have never run your heat test run it now before its 30 degrees. If you have gas in your home and your furnace runs on gas and is older (typically 1990’s or older) it may have a pilot light. Make sure the pilot light is lit, if you don’t know how to check this get a professional over to get it set up for you. Note: I’m not suggesting running your heat at 90 degrees, just run your heat at a moderate temperature, anything over freezing (32 degrees) is going to do the trick.
Fire Safety – If you buy a space heater don’t put anything on it, next to it or over it. Don’t set it up next to drapes or any hanging cloth. Space heaters cause 25,000 home fires every year so use them carefully. If you have a fireplace and have never used it the first step is making sure the flue damper is open. If you don’t know what this is click here and watch this short video. Once the damper is open give the fireplace a test run by burning a piece of paper or two in it and making sure the smoke goes up and out of the chimney before you get a full fire started. Note: If you have an older home and have never used the fireplace I suggest having a licensed chimney sweep give the system a full evaluation before using it.
Doors and Windows – Give your home a quick inspection by checking that all the windows and doors are properly shut and sealed up. Shut your garage door, many garage areas have pipes in them and keeping the door shut will keep the freezing temperatures off them.
Pets – For most this will be obvious but keep your pets inside during the night other than walking them. Just like you pets in our climate are not used to these cold temperatures and will feel the effects quickly if left outside.
Please don’t panic about the weather or any of the above tips, if you have questions feel free to contact me. This weather is nothing to overly worry about, just follow advice and take the proper steps to be prepared and again you will get through it without a hitch. Home Inspectors Group – 407-301-5936