Steps to Prepare Your Home for the Cold and Freezing
Inside the House
If you’ve prepped your house for the winter weather, you’re ahead of the game. When the temperature actually drops, here are a few more steps to take.
• Keep your house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees might not keep the inside walls from freezing.
• During freezing weather, leave cabinet doors open under kitchen or bathroom sinks (especially if they are located against an outside wall) to allow warmer room air to circulate around pipes.
• Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. In severely frigid temperatures, keeping water moving within the pipes will help prevent freezing.
• Check that fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters are working properly. Make sure there are no combustible items near the heat sources and watch them closely, especially the first time in the season you use them.
• Keep your fireplace flue closed when you’re not using it.
Outside the House
Backed-up gutters might allow water to seep into your house. Vigilance is key during severe weather—stay ahead of the potential hazards outside your home.
• Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice. You don’t want anyone to slipand fall.
• Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into yourhouse. Clear gutters of leaves and debris to allow runoff from melting snow and ice to flow freely.
• Run your swimming pool pump at night when the temperatures are expected to go below freezing.This will keep the water flowing through the pipes.
• Keep your garage doors closed. This will prevent weather damage to whatever is stored in there.Plus, if your garage is attached to your house, the home entrance door from the garage is probablynot as well insulated as an exterior door so this will keep more heat in.
• Double check for dead, damaged or dangerous tree branches and have them removed. Even if theylooked sound earlier in the year, trees can be affected by ice, snow or wind. When stressed,branches can fall and damage your house or car, or injure someone on or near your property.
In the Event of a Problem
• Don’t wait for frozen pipes to burst. If your pipes are frozen, take measures to thaw them immediately,or call a plumber for assistance.
• If your pipes burst, first turn off the water. You know now where the main water shut off is, right? Cutoff the flow, then attend to the mess and …
• Properly dry and repair any water damage. This will help prevent any potential problems with mold.
Information provided by the Insurance Information Institute.