How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

How to Prepare Your Home for WinterThe horror stories are true. Freezing temperatures have indeed caused havoc on residential plumbing systems resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in damages. The cost of repairing the pipes and structural parts of the plumbing system, in addition to water damages, in extreme situations can amount to the price of a small home. The potential damage to your home as a result of not winterizing your home cannot be underestimated. These horrendous plumbing emergencies will continue to occur in homes that are not prepared for the cold winter months in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to the over the top expenses associated with busted pipes, more often than not homeowners insurance does not cover these types of damages. It is highly recommended you explore flood insurance options as this is a great way to protect yourself in the case of a plumbing emergency. Furthermore, your insurance premiums are likely to significantly increase due to the structural vulnerabilities that will result from not winterizing your home.

How Cold Weather Affects Your House

Those living in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas need to know the effects of not winterizing your home and they include:

  • Busted Pipes: No exaggeration, there is nothing worse for your plumbing system than busted pipes. When pipes burst they spew water at an uncontrollable rate resulting in immense damages.
  • Cracked Pipes: When pipes start cracking, your plumbing system is in serious trouble. Prevent this from happening by winterizing your plumbing system.
  • Expanded Pipes: When there is water left in your pipes and the water freezes it causes the pipe to expand. Expanded pipes from ice tend to start cracking.
  • Exposure to Raw Sewage: When your plumbing system is failing is it not uncommon for residents to be exposed to raw sewage when excessive flooding occurs.
  • Flooding: The water damage from flooding is the worst headache. Structural water damage brings on an entirely different set of issues and leaves your home extremely vulnerable.
  • Wood Rot: A nasty side effect of water damage, wood rot is expensive to eradicate and tends to spread rapidly.
  • Mold and Mildew Growth: The moisture from flooding will likely result in a hasty production of mold and mildew.
  • Pest Infestations: Anytime there is moisture present, especially in wooden structures, pest infestations are a significant threat. Pests thrive in environments where water damage is present and this can be extremely costly to deal with.

The effects of not winterizing your home are devastating, but you are in luck as there are steps you can take to protect your home’s plumbing from the debilitating freezing temperatures that winter brings. It is important to pay careful attention to the tips on what should and shouldn’t be winterized. Sometimes, despite winterizing your plumbing system, pipes burst. In some cases, when pipes burst in floors or ceilings it may take some time before it is obvious. Pay attention to water pressure, unusual noises from your plumbing system, and any other signs that there may be an issue. If you suspect cracked, defective, faulty, or expanded piping in your residential plumbing system, call a reputable plumber immediately.

Get your home ready for winter by winterizing your plumbing

10 ways to winterize your home

Get your home ready for winter by winterizing your plumbingYour plumbing system becomes extremely vulnerable during the winter season, and as such it is in your best interest to take the time and effort into protecting this invaluable system. Now is the best time for you get your home ready for winter by winterizing your plumbing system. Plumbing winterization is the process of preparing your residential plumbing system for the winter months. More specifically, plumbing winterization is the comprehensive endeavor of securing and insulating your plumbing system in preparation for days when the cold winter temperatures drop below 32 degrees, as this is when defenseless and exposed pipes break down causing plumbing system failure. Protect your home and follow the 10 plumbing winterization tips below:

 

Indoor Plumbing Winterization Tips

  1. Crawlspaces: Locate your crawlspace vents and shut them. Secure the openings of the vents with insulation. If you have moisture issues in your crawlspace you will need to reseal it before securing it shut.
  2. Doors and Windows: Pay careful attention to not let indoor temperatures drop too low. Be diligent in keeping windows, front doors, patio doors, back sliding doors, and garage doors closed- especially on days with freezing temperatures.
  3. Thermostat(s): Do not turn your heating system off in the winter when you are not home. When leaving your home, set the thermostat(s) to 58 degrees minimum.

 

Outdoor Plumbing Winterization Tips

  1. Outdoor Faucets: Turn off the water supply for outdoor faucets. Remove hose(s) from the yard and put away for the winter.
  2. Sprinkler Systems: Disable and drain sprinkler systems. If you have not done this before, you are encouraged to allow professionals to take care of this plumbing winterization task.
  3. Pools and Jacuzzis: Drain and clean out pools and Jacuzzis.
  4. Sump Pump: Now is the perfect time to conduct sump pump maintenance.

 

General Plumbing Winterization Tips

  1. Plumbing System Familiarize: First, you want to educate yourself on your plumbing system. Locate your pipes. Locate your mainline water shut off- this way if a plumbing system emergency were to occur you will know where to turn off the water supply. When turning off the main water supply line, make sure to also turn off plumbing fixtures to get pressure out of the pipes.
  2. Water Heater: Now is the perfect time to conduct water heater maintenance.
  3. Call a Plumbing Professional: There are many things you can do on your own to help protect your plumbing system from the harsh winter cold, however a comprehensive plumbing winterization plan requires the expertise of a plumbing professional.

 

Putting it All Together

Getting your home ready for the winter by winterizing your home is extremely important. Once you have performed the plumbing winterization tips above, the only thing left to do is call a reputable plumbing company to conduct an inspection. During this inspection, you can expect any plumbing system vulnerabilities that you missed to be highlighted and addressed. This is also a great time to ask any questions and schedule additional future plumbing maintenance if needed.  If anything were to happen to your plumbing system, you will wish you took the initiative now- so don’t delay.

 

Prevent your home from flooding

Prevent your home from flooding

Prevent your home from floodingThe Pacific Northwest is notoriously known for its constant and unrelenting rain during the cold winter months, and even well into the spring. Flash flooding is not an uncommon occurrence when heavy rainfall begins. Homeowners in the area should take notice and do what is necessary in preventing flooding in your home. Home flooding prevention also includes creating a plan should flash flooding occur to minimize any damages that may be a result. Take the initiative and begin home flooding prevention now. Preventing residential flooding is an inherent part of home maintenance and many aspects of it can be done on your own.

Home Flooding Protection

The following are tips in home flooding prevention and control:

  • Disaster Supplies Kit: Create an emergency preparedness kit that will last at least three days. This kit should have basic household items you would need in the case of an emergency. Items in this kit should include first aid kit, non-perishable food, clothing, batteries, matches, water, mess kit, battery powered radio, and warm blankets.
  • Emergency Plan: Create an emergency plan for your family. This plan should include what to do in case of separation, and how to reunite. All family members should be abreast to the plan.
  • Flood Insurance: Consider purchasing home flood insurance. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover damages from flash flooding. Look into your insurance options, and seek flood damage insurance.
  • Gutters & Downspouts: Inspect and clear out your gutters. Make sure downspouts are draining properly and redirecting water away from the home. Gutters that may be compromised need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Indoor Drains: Regular indoor drain cleaning is a great tactic in preventing flooding in your home. Pay special attention to floor drains, as they tend to cause the most problems when clogged.
  • Outdoor Drains: Clear out storm drains, French drains, and catch basins. Clogged outdoor drains often times result in flash flooding during heavy rainfall.
  • Crawlspaces: Inspect crawlspaces to make sure they are sealed tight and securely shut.
  • Sump Pump: If you do not already have one, consider purchasing and installing a sump pump. These pumps remove excess water from basements to help prevent flooding. If you already have a sump pump, be sure to keep up with regular manufacturer recommended maintenance.

Home flooding prevention is extremely important. There are many things you can do yourself to prepare yourself and your family for this type of emergency. The list above is not an exhaustive list however it is helpful in getting started when you begin doing things in preventing flooding in your home. For comprehensive home flooding prevention, call a reputable local plumber for assistance. A thorough inspection of your home for any flooding vulnerabilities is highly recommended. Having a professional on your side to help you and your family prepare for a flood is not only a good idea- it is a responsibility incumbent on homeowners in order to best protect their most valuable investment.