WINTERIZING YOUR HOME
With the temps dropping more and more, it appears autumn is finally settled in to Georgia (and winter is just around the corner!). Because of that, it’s time to make sure your home is ready for winter and the freezing temps that can be so harmful to your pipes.
Water hoses are some of the major causes of frozen pipe damage in the winter months. Make sure your outside water hoses are disconnected from the house. If they remain connected, any water inside the hose can freeze (and then expand) and cause damage to the pipes and faucet they’re connected to.
Whether your pipes are plastic, copper, or steel, they can crack when the freezing temps hit them. Make sure the faucets outside of your house aren’t dripping or leaking, and if they are, make sure they’re repaired as soon as possible. Again, cracks can be messy disasters, and even small ones can cause some serious damage.
Does your home have interior shut-off valves to outside faucets? If so, close them and drain the water from the outside lines.
Outside faucets can be covered with a faucet insulation kit for added protection against the cold. These kits can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores.
If there are unheated areas in your house (like garages or crawl spaces), you can insulate pipes running through those rooms as well. Use heat tape or heat cables around any pipes that are exposed or prone to freezing.
Go ahead and seal any leaks you have around doors and windows – this will keep the cold air from getting in and affecting your pipes.
Because of the colder weather, your water heater works the hardest during the winter months. Go ahead and take the time to make sure it won’t stop working by flushing it out. This will remove sediment buildup, which shortens the heater’s life span, reduces heating efficiency, and causes corrosion. Connect a hose to the faucet near the bottom of the tank, and drain several gallons into a nearby drain. For more specific instructions for your model, check the manufacturer’s website for your heater.
For optimum water heater performance, set the thermostat on the heater for 120*F.
Make sure your gutters are clean going into the winter months. If they’re full of leaves and debris, it can be hard for any water to drain; if water freezes up there, it could mean trouble.
When you go out of town for the holidays or other extended periods of time, make sure the heat in your house is left on and set to about 55*F. Also remember to shut off the water meter valve before you leave.
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