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Winter prep for the home.

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  • Winter prep for the home.

    The weather is changing here and i just bought my first house. What should i do to make sure it has a good winter. I am concerned about the heat bill and keeping my water pipes unfrozen. The last owner said some winters the pipes can freeze under the house. Does anyone have some tips or check lists i can pass on to my husband?

  • #2
    I think one potential tip is to leave the heating on overnight, if you have central heating.

    Sure, it can raise the bills but the key point here is to keep the heating relatively low when not in use - ie at night - as even that should help against freezing water pipes.

    Also - possibly simpler - if you can identify which pipes may be at most risk, it's worth looking at insulating them.


    • #3
      Yes, find the pipes with possible exposure ...like those closest to outside walls and wrap them yourself. It will help. I tend to keep my heat on very low all the time ...about 58F ...because I use fireplaces during the day. That temp will keep pipes from freezing unless it's a super cold night ...below 0F. Then, you leave the faucets with a little drip through the night so if the pipes do freeze, they won't burst.


      • #4
        Ah - nice tip about the dripping. So long as you can stand the noise.


        • #5
          put a sponge underneath the drip ...on super cold nights that dripping can save you some pipes lol


          • #6
            There's lots of good lists out on the Net if you Google "freezing water pipes". I like the one at http://www.portlandonline.com/water/...=chegh&c=cjegj , very helpful. We just had a snowstorm two days ago here...a friend of mine had five feet of drifted snow in his driveway...


            • #7
              That's a good list, but I did have to laugh at how easy they make draining the whole system seem. It never works out that easy!!! LOL.


              • #8
                IF you do leave the heating on, do watch out on your heating bills - *especially* if the gas/electric company sends you estimated bills.

                After moving out, where all the bills we're estimated, a proper reading just led to my being hit with a £500 bill correction.

                Wasn't entirely unexpected, actually, as saw the real meter readings when we moved out - but next time I'll keep a much closer eye on the estimated vs real meter readings.


                • #9
                  Seal Leaks around Doors and Windows
                  • Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows.
                  • Caulk gaps where necessary.
                  • Replace worn door stops at the bottom of doors.
                  • If you have them, install storm doors and windows. Don't forget to winterize basement windows.
                  • Replace old windows with energy efficient windows.
                  Seal Other Leaks
                  • Use caulking and weather-stripping around entry points for all pipes and ducts that travel through an exterior wall.
                  • Install insulating kits behind electrical plugs that are on a wall with an exterior side.
                  Proper attic insulation keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

                  hope this could help out a bit


                  • #10
                    Those were great tips. Thanks for providing the details. There are ways to make your house do well in the winter months.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by juol7 View Post
                      Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows.
                      This is important, yes. We had a problem before doing this even *with* really good replacement windows. After using weather stripping, the room in question stayed a lot warmer. It makes a real difference.


                      • #12
                        winter prep

                        We use heat tape on the pipes in the winter. It really helps to keep your pipes from freezing in the winter. My husband but all new weather stripping on the windows this winter and it made a big difference.


                        • #13
                          Winter preparations starts at summer time

                          I read some really good advices here, thanks.

                          Till winter comes I need to change all the windows to new ones.


                          • #14
                            Re: Winter prep for the home.

                            Here are ten tips to help you prepare your home for winter:
                            1) Furnace Inspection

                            • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
                            • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
                            • Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
                            • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
                            • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

                            2) Get the Fireplace Ready

                            • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
                            • If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
                            • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
                            • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
                            • Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.

                            3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

                            • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
                            • Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
                            • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
                            • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
                            • Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.

                            4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

                            • If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
                            • Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
                            • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
                            • Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.
                            • Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

                            5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment

                            • Drain gas from lawnmowers.
                            • Service or tune-up snow blowers.
                            • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
                            • Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
                            • Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand.

                            6) Check Foundations

                            • Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
                            • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
                            • Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
                            • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
                            • Secure crawlspace entrances.

                            7) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

                            • Some cities require a smoke detector in every room.
                            • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
                            • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
                            • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
                            • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

                            8) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

                            • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
                            • Drain all garden hoses.
                            • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
                            • Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
                            • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.

                            9) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

                            • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
                            • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
                            • Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
                            • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
                            • Don't automatically remove dead vegetation from gardens as some provide attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard.
                            • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

                            10) Prepare an Emergency Kit

                            • Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage.
                            • Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book.
                            • Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
                            • Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
                            • Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.