If you live somewhere with brutal winters, it’s important to take measures to protect your home from freezing temps. We tracked down a local builder to find out what the most important winterization tips are. Bob Brady, owner of Keystone Homes of Bloomington, IL, has these eight simple tips.
1) Disconnect your garden hoses. If you leave your garden hoses connected during winter, any water left inside the hose could freeze and cause the lining to crack. Also, if the main nozzle on your hose freezes, the ice could put pressure on the pipes connected to your house which could cause them to crack or burst.
2) Keep the heat on. If you plan on being away from your home for a long period of time, do not turn off your heating system. We recommend you set your thermostat at 65 degrees or higher. This will help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting under extreme weather and temperature conditions. Additionally, it is a good idea to leave your cabinet doors open and the faucet dripping at a pencil-thin stream during extremely cold temperatures.
3) Shut off your water main if you’re going away. Some homeowners like to turn off their water when they’re away from their homes for a long period of time. You likely have two shut off handles: one before and one after the water meter. We suggest you shut off the one before the meter. Then, relieve the pressure in the system by opening all faucets in your home. Leaving the faucets open while you’re gone is up to your own discretion.
4) Clean out your egress window wells. Keeping your window wells clean helps ensure your drains in the wells are free of any leaves or garbage, allowing for proper drainage.
5) Seal your driveway. Consider sealing your driveway if you haven’t done it before. Doing this before it gets too cold will help protect your driveway from the salt the city uses on the streets during the winter months.
6) Do not use salt on your concrete. If you have a concrete driveway or sidewalks, do not use salt on them! Salt will pit the concrete. Sand is the only product guaranteed not to harm concrete. While sand does not melt the ice, it will make your driveways and sidewalks easier to walk on.
7) Clean out your gutters. Removing leaves and other debris from your gutters before winter can help prevent ice from forming inside the gutters. This can potentially prevent “ice damming,” which can cause severe damage to the interior of a home.
8) Take care of your furnace. When is the last time you’ve changed your furnace filter? Make sure you are keeping up with your filter changes and be sure to call your HVAC service provider for your fall service check-up before winter hits.
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Do you use any of these simple tips in your home? Which winter tips did we miss? Let us know in the comments!