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From the Colonel - October edition - Getting Your Home Ready for Cold Weather
Getting Your Home Ready for Cold Weather
Stay warm, save money and prevent damage to your home from cold with these simple steps.
As the cold weather approaches, there are several issues that may arise in your house. However, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you and your family stay safe and warm. These next seven steps will help you keep your house in good shape for the cold weather.
Protect your Pipes: Most of us are aware that water expands as it freezes. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to your pipes, as the water inside of them will expand if they freeze, leading to a pipe cracking or bursting. It’s important to know that pipes will burst when pressure builds up behind a chunk of ice, and that’s why it’s smart to leave faucets dripping when the weather gets too cold. One way or another, a burst pipe can cause huge problems and damage. You can take some steps to protect your pipes and avoid any catastrophe.
Keep the pipes from freezing by draining the water from outdoor faucets and sprinklers.
Disconnect and store outdoor hoses; make sure the outdoor faucets are covered with foam insulators.
Areas like the attic, basement, or garage can stay unheated, so make sure you protect the water pipes that run through them with insulation.
Tip: Find out where your water shutoff valve is so you can turn it off in case of an emergency. Usually, you will find it in the basement or underground near the road. Also, visit a local hardware store and purchase a water key to be able to shut off the water at the main line near the road.
Check the Heat: It’s important to check your furnace before the weather gets too cold to make sure you are going to stay warm during this season. You can check your furnace by turning on the heat and the blower to be sure they’re operating as they should.
Make sure you change your furnace filter at the start of the season and then every two or four months. Be aware that the filters may get dirty much faster if you have a furry pet or if the house is too dusty. This is a problem as dirty filters are less efficient, consequently, your house won’t warm properly.
Installing a programmable thermostat might be a good idea. You can program to be cooler during the night and when you leave the house, this will save you some money.
Tip: Fans are not just for warm weather, they can be helpful during the cold too. You just need to reverse the direction to turn clockwise and it will circulate warm air from the ceiling.
Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney: Everybody loves that fire glow to warm up an evening. However, before lighting anything up, it’s important to check your fireplace and chimney to make sure they are clean and critter-free. Chimneys can accumulate soot and debris that could catch fire if it’s not properly cleaned. Remember to keep the chimney’s flue closed all the way to keep the warm air from getting out. Other considerations are glass fireplace doors or chimney inflatables that block cold air from coming down the chimney.
Seal Windows and Doors: It’s difficult to keep a house warm if it has gaps around windows and doors. To save money on heating costs, you can caulk around windows and install weather stripping around doors. To boost the energy efficiency of your home, you might want to consider upgrading your windows and doors. Double or triple-pane windows and insulated doors can be really helpful in this situation. You can also choose to install storm windows and doors. Don’t throw the screens out though, wash and store them for the spring.
Stock Up on Cold-Weather Essentials: Power outages are very common when the winter storms hit. Therefore, it’s crucial that you are prepared to take care of yourself and your family through this coming season. On this note, having an emergency kit would be a good idea. Finally, consider having these cold-weather specific items close by as well:
Fire extinguisher (fully charged).
Alternative heat sources like a wood-burning stove, generator, or fireplace.
If you live in a place prone to ice and snow, make sure you have sand, ice melt, and a shovel.
Power outages and storms can be dangerous, even if you are inside your house. Be sure you are prepared for this coming season.
Don’t forget that when it comes to Real Estate, “Dan’s The Man”. Please let me know if I can help you with anything!
Fathom Realty, Chapin SC
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Dan Lang is a realtor/broker in Chapin, South Carolina. Dan retired after 29 years of service in the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel. He has personally moved more than a dozen times during his ca....
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