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6 steps to preventing winter water damage

Frozen water pipes can lead to water damage, costly repairs, and potential safety hazards including mold growth. Here are basic steps for winterizing your home, which should be done before you expect the first hard freeze. Damage resulting from failure to winterize your home may not be reimbursed by your home insurance company; hazard insurance policies typically require homeowners to take precautions against expected hazards.

Steps for winterizing your home

These steps apply to occupied homes where the heating system will remain on:

  1. Ensure that uninsulated areas of your home are heated enough to prevent freezing: Areas including garages, basements and crawlspaces should be heated to 40 degrees F. If this isn't possible, insulating pipes can help prevent burst pipes and leaks due to freezing. Allowing a cushion of several degrees above freezing helps prevent damage to pipes located in particularly cold areas, where they may be exposed to freezing temperatures.
  2. Eliminate drafts: Although your home may be heated to a comfortable temperature, cold drafts in unheated parts of your home can cause pipes to burst or split.
  3. Insulating pipes: Wrapping pipes with insulation material can help prevent freezing, but only if all surfaces of the pipes are wrapped. Skipping joints and other difficult areas will defeat the purpose of insulating pipes.
  4. Use heat tape for insulating unprotected pipes: Heat tape wrapped around unprotected brass, copper, or galvanized iron pipes provides sufficient warmth to avoid freezing, but can be a safety hazard if not installed correctly or monitored with a thermostat. Be particularly careful when using heat tape on plastic (PVC) pipes, as the heat tape can damage this material if it produces too much heat.
  5. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors: This exposes water pipes to warmer temperatures.
  6. Drip, drip, drip: In cases where an unusual and brief (such as overnight) temperature drop is expected, opening faucets just enough to allow water to drip can help avoid freezing. This method is OK for occasional emergencies, but it wastes water and creates a risk of freezing drain lines or flooding septic systems.

Taking these steps can help with preventing water damage and hefty repair bills. If you're unsure of how to winterize your home, please contact licensed plumbers or home maintenance services for help.

 

 

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Most air conditioning problems are a result of flawed installation, poor service, and insufficient maintenance. However, there are several ways to check for and resolve problems associated with your central air conditioning. Common problems include the compressor failing to turn on, the air not coming out cool enough, low airflow, and water leaks.

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