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In today’s blog, we will address two important areas for winterizing our homes:
Plumbing and Chimney/Fireplaces
As temperatures drop, we sometimes forget that simple things can make a HUGE difference in resulting costs and damage. One simple thing that needs attention is: Frozen pipes. While one day or night of freezing temperatures shouldn’t make a difference, prolonged freezing temperatures can have a drastic effect on your exposed plumbing. By now, for those of us living in Kansas, we’ve had several hard freezes…so doncha think it’s time you went around and checked your faucets?! Remove any hoses you have attached to your outdoor faucets and then go in the house and TURN OFF the water to the outside faucets.
By doing these two simple tasks you have averted major risk already to water damage in your walls and home by a frozen burst pipe.
Frozen water exerts thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch on a pipe and can burst it, causing flooding and major damage to your home. A couple of other things you may want to check are noted below:
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
Our second point of concern: Fireplaces and Chimneys
If you’re like my family, we love have a wood burning fire going regularly. However, there are a few things to check BEFORE getting started on the burning season.
Make sure the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels or other animals.
Check to be sure the flue opens and closes fully and can be locked either way.
Check the draft. You want to chimney to draw up the fire and smoke properly. If after opening the flue, and lighting several sheets of newspaper in the fireplace, watch the smoke. If it doesn’t rise, there’s an obstruction and need to call a professional to clean the chimney of creosote and possible debris.
Speaking of cleaning…this isn’t a fun DIY project. Have a professional come out and clean it for you. They have all the right tools and equipment to do it safely and quickly.
Inspect the fire brick in the fireplace. If there are any open joints, have them REPAIRED
IMMEDIATELY! A fire can spread to the stud wall behind and you have a disaster on your hands.
While the above tips in no way encompass all the things needing done to prepare your home for winter, it will give you a few things to consider while protecting your most expensive investment!