“Brace yourselves….winter is coming.”
If you are a fan of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones then you’ll understand that quote. If not….well you are missing out! Speaking of winter though, we are experiencing a bit of cold weather ourselves down in south Alabama. According to CNN, 80% of the United States will experience below freezing temperatures! That’s cold! Especially in south Alabama where it coincides with the humidity to make it feel even colder. So, now is the perfect time to discuss winterizing your home in preparation for these temperatures.
Here are 8 tips, 4 that apply to winterizing the inside of your home, and 4 that apply to winterizing the outside of your home.
Open faucets and let water run slowly
Many people already know this. However, this is imperative if you wish to avoid bursting pipes when the temperatures reach below freezing.
Be aware of the location of the shut-off valve for the water in your home
Maybe you are already aware of the shut-off valve’s location, but if you are not, then it would be important to find. In the event the pipes in your home burst, it’s extremely important to be able to shut-off the water as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.
Some companies nowadays sell “smart valves” that will shut-off automatically if your pipes burst.
Keep the heat on the thermostat in your home on no lower than about 60 degrees
Some people will say 65 degrees, others will say it’s fine down to 55 degrees, I say split the difference and make it 60 degrees. You won’t save a substantial amount of money by moving it from 60 down to 55 anyways. Better to be safe than sorry.
Prepare your heat source
If one of your primary heat sources is a fireplace, then be sure to check the chimney and make sure it’s clear. The last thing you need is to leave a fire burning with smoke building up in the chimney to eventually work its way back out into your home.
Be sure that all propane tanks that assist in heating are full.
If wood is your primary source of fuel, then be sure to have plenty on hand.
If your home has a garage door, be sure to keep it closed whenever possible.
The reasoning behind this tip is to avoid excess cold coming in through the door in the garage that allows access into the home. In most homes, that door lacks the necessary insulation that a typical “exterior” door would have. Allowing unwanted cold air to slip in.
Keep a watchful eye on ice build-up
Ice buildup can lead to a host of problems. If ice builds up in your gutters, then excess water can leak into your home. If too much ice builds up on tree branches over where you park your car, then you could wake-up one morning to a large tree limb going through your front window.
Use rock salt on your driveway to avoid ice build-up
This may be more for our friends up in north Alabama. The last thing you want to happen after you think you have taken care of everything is to whip your car in the driveway one afternoon and hit the brakes to park only to continue sliding into your home.
Check your antifreeze levels in your car
If they are low, it might be a good idea to top them off and run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the engine block and radiator.
This was just a small list of tips that might be obvious to some, but to others, it may save them a lot of money in the long run. It doesn’t hurt to implement some extra protection. Luckily, here in Alabama we seldom have to deal with anything that is too catastrophic pertaining to cold weather. Stay warm and stay safe!