Winterizing your home might seem tedious and unnecessary, but properly doing it can reduce the risk of frozen pipes and heating system malfunction. Follow these easy tips to ensure your home is ready for winter!
Install and try smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly, replace batteries as necessary, and keep a fire extinguisher handy in your home.
Prepare your home for winter with essential plumbing and heating tips! For HVAC and plumbing services in Hayden, WA, consider Hurliman for reliable assistance.
1. Insulate your pipes
Insulating pipes during winter is vitally important. Doing so will prevent water pipes from freezing and bursting, which could result in expensive damage throughout your home. Plus, insulation saves money on heating costs and protects against mold and mildew growth.
Wintertime is a frigid time, and insulating water pipes in unheated areas of your home, like garages and basements, is essential.
Frozen water expands when frozen and can wreak havoc with pipes, potentially breaking them and incurring costly and time-consuming repairs; insulation will prevent this from happening and is relatively cost-effective to undertake.
Insulating outdoor faucet pipes is also vital since these can easily freeze in winter conditions and be very hazardous for users to handle. A solution would be to wrap these with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves available from hardware stores or insulated dealers.
2. Turn off outdoor faucets
Prepping for winter means draining all outdoor water hoses and turning off any exterior faucets, storing them away in an appropriate location, and draining and storing them in dry storage – this will stop them from freezing over, as well as decrease the risk of injuries due to falling on frozen hoses.
Winter can vary widely, from moderate blizzards to bitter Arctic blasts, so it is wise to be prepared. One way of doing this is draining outdoor faucets and turning off water supplies before winter sets in. Frozen pipes can burst, leading to extensive property damage in your home and yard if left uncovered; here’s how:
First, locate your home’s shut-off valve for the hose bib on the water supply pipe leading to your faucet. It should be a gate or ball valve with a handle; you can turn it clockwise to switch off all the water flow simultaneously. Please be patient; it could take time before everything stops flowing freely again.
Once the valve is closed, return indoors and place a bucket underneath an outdoor faucet. Open its valve to let all of the water drain out – this should only take minutes! To help further drain interior pipes connected to this fixture, open its faucet and let water run freely away.
Purchase insulated covers to add an extra layer of protection for faucets. This relatively cost-effective method should be done before the first cold snap hits.
3. Turn off water supply
Everyone should know where and how to access their home’s water supply valves in an emergency. If this knowledge is unknown to you, take time to learn it, as this could save thousands in repair costs or worse.
Every home varies slightly in its configuration of valves; however, most typically contain at least one main shut-off valve that prevents water from flowing into fixtures and appliances and possibly another for the whole house. These valves should be located near the water meter in either a basement or outdoors on your property, such as near your meter.
Gate or ball valves with knobs to shut them off can be found here, allowing any standing water to drain out by opening a faucet on a lower floor of your house or outside to drain. Once closed, open any lower floor faucet to let any remaining standing water runoff out through any holes on its way through to drain off the system.
When turning back on the water in your home, simply open a hose bib near the master shut-off valve and turn its handle counterclockwise – this will force out any air that may have built up in the lines, potentially causing irreparable damage to your pipes.
4. Shut down your furnace
Furnaces are often housed in the basement, boiler room, or attic of homes and can quickly become overrun with dust, pet dander, mold, and other contaminants that clog airflow, forcing furnace systems to work harder in keeping you warm while increasing their vulnerability to fire.
Turning off the heating and cooling systems and cutting the gas connection to the furnace is crucial as soon as toxins infiltrate your house. Doing this will lower risk and save money by cutting utility costs.
If your furnace runs on gas, be sure to turn off both its pilot light and main switch, as this will halt any further use of gas, which could cost an estimated amount each year.
However, it would be better to totally cut off the energy to your furnace because your air conditioning system and furnace share a blower fan to distribute cool air around your house. Also, turning off its electrical supply could harm or even break your HVAC equipment, making it unusable come wintertime.