With fall upon us and cold weather coming soon we should start preparing, with these weatherization tips the cold weather will be less threating:
– Drain water from swimming pools and water sprinkler supply lines prior to the onset of cold weather. Drain water before freezing temps arrive, and don’t forget to drain outdoor hoses and store them inside after the watering season has come and gone.
– Close indoor water valves that feed outdoor spigots/bibs. Open spigots outside to allow water to drain out. Keep the outside valve open so that any water that has accumulated will continue to drain and expand outward without damaging the pipe. An insulated bib dome also can help prevent frozen pipes. Claims from this frozen pipe is most often found in the spring when insured’s begin to use outside water.
– Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach pipes inside of cabinets. Keep doors open to spaces that may not be heated or insulated as well as other areas of the home so that heat can find its way inside. Consider wrapping pipes with an insulating material as well, such as foam pipe sleeves.
– Maintain constant thermostat temperature. Ensure the inside temp does not drop below 55F degrees; otherwise, problems can arise. Use a programmable thermostat to keep the house comfortable even when you are not home. Individuals who are traveling should set the thermostat so that it will keep the home at the recommended temp to avoid frozen pipes. Insured’s that go away for the winter should also have a trusted individual with access to the home check regularly (every week) to ensure that the heat is enough, the power is on, there is enough oil in the tank and no pipes have burst. Remember, if a property is not maintained properly and leaks occur over weeks and not addressed, coverage will be affected. I’ve seen many catastrophic water losses over the years when insured’s go south for the winter, with inadequate maintenance (weekly or biweekly inspections) and broken pipes have leaked for many weeks creating extensive damage and mold, only to receive the bad news of no coverage. This is entirely preventable. This is particularly true with hot water heating systems. Many homes are heated by electric or heat pump systems. In those systems, the water can be shut off at the main valve, and the pipes drained, with the heat set at 55F. If the power goes off, no water damage should occur.
– Open one faucet. When it is very cold outside, particularly at night, let water slowly drip from one faucet to prevent freezing. Choose the sink that is furthest from where water enters the house so water is flowing through all of the pipes to reach that faucet.
– Increase insulation around where pipes enter the house. Use insulating foam to seal any drafts where pipes enter the house from the outdoors.
Frozen pipes cannot always be avoided. Therefore, it is important that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the main water valve in the event of pipe bursts. This can prevent expensive damage to a home.
I hope that you all have a safe and successful winter season.