During the winter season most of us remember to do obvious things like crank up the thermostat and stock up on rock salt to prevent slips on icy sidewalks. Depending on where you live, some winterizing preps might seem unnecessary. However, these can quickly turn into costly black swans.
The most recent example of this is winter storm Uri sweeping through the US, hitting the Southwest and Texas hard in early 2021. It was a deadly storm, taking hundreds of Texans by surprise and cutting off power to millions. So many victims of that storm had never winterized their homes before and as a result, pipes froze and burst, causing devastating destruction and chaos.
This unforeseen storm is a cautionary tale and why Americans everywhere should be winterizing their homes this year.
Here are the top three areas people forget when winterizing a home:
Freezing water in pipes prevents water from running properly. It can create water pressure jams in the pipes that cause pipes to burst. Here are some ways to prevent your pipes from freezing or even worse, breaking open…
- Run a few faucets to keep standing water from freezing.
- Add extra insulation and have a plumber inspect for small cracks, so that you can focus on insulating areas most at risk of leaking.
Sprinklers and Water Hoses
Water can freeze in sprinkler systems and hoses — things you used in the summer and are likely to forget all about when the temperature drops.
- Detach your hose from the spigot. And shut off that spigot! When you leave your garden hose attached, the water can freeze and expand since ice creates about 10% more space than water does.
- Drain out the water in all hoses. This prevents winter buildup of less-than-lovely things like mineral sediment, insect invasion and mold.
- Store your hose properly, so that air can get through to prevent mold. It’s best to keep the hose hanging up in a coil no more or less than three feet in diameter.
- Drain the water out of your sprinklers. Determine if your system requires a manual, automatic or blow out draining out. The main valve should be insulated.
We don’t usually associated insects with winter. Pests have another way of being, well, pesty, in the colder months of the year. One stealthy way is to nest and hide in your home. Here’s how to prevent and manage possible pest intrusion:
- Seal up holes by caulking around areas where there might be cracks in the wall. You might also need to consider re-grouting your bathroom tiles.
- Put weather strips around windows and doors.
- Check the pantry and other areas where food is kept, keep it clean and put all food in vacuum-sealed containers. Don’t leave any grains exposed, in open containers for example.
- In the case of rodents or mice, put traps out at appropriate access points. Ideally, you should hire an expert to inspect your home and tell you the best areas to place the traps. Check the roof for signs of rodent trespass.
- Store wood for the fireplace more than 20 feet away from your home.
- Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
See the link here for additional tips to pest-proof when winterizing a home.