What kind of “winter person” are you? Love the cold crisp air, and all the winter activities? Or are you depressed and eager for warm weather again? Either way, we don’t know exactly how much longer these cold temperatures are going to last. And temperatures seem to be hitting record highs and lows every year, with extremes showing up in unexpected parts of the country. So, you would be wise to consider whether your home is ready for extremely low temperatures. Planning now can save you time and headaches later.
Water lines are particularly susceptible to the cold temperatures that winter brings. Pipes that burst because of freezing can cause some of the most expensive repairs in the home. Believe me, you don’t want that to happen to you. Just ask any of our staff here at GAMA Air and we can tell you some horror stories we’ve experienced in Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino and the surrounding area. So, let's go over some basic tips for making sure your home is freeze proof.
Insulate Exposed Piping
Check to see if you have any exposed water or drain piping in uninsulated spaces such as in your crawlspace, attic, outside walls. If you do, they should at least be wrapped with foam insulation, at a minimum. But if you expect temperatures below 20 degrees F, then ideally the pipes should also be wrapped with electrical heating tape first, which is available at most hardware and home improvement stores. Then insulate the pipes.
Check Exterior Faucets
The exterior faucets, also called hose bibbs or sill-cocks, should be designed for cold weather. This style cuts off the water supply deeper inside the wall where the water is not exposed to extreme temperatures. However, if this is not the style you have on the wall of your hose, then you need to shut off the water supply inside the house, and you also need to drain water from it by opening up the exterior faucet. An insulated cover for the hose bibb is another option you may want to consider. Of course, after draining the water from the shut-off sill cocks, leave your garden hoses disconnected. And if you store the hoses outside, then they should also be drained so they don’t freeze and burst.
Other miscellaneous items
Aside from getting your plumbing ready for Jack Frost, there are some other things you should consider to get your home prepared for the extreme lows.
- Insulate your water heater tank with an insulating blanket that you can buy at nearly any hardware store. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid adversely affecting the safe operation of your water heater.
- Insulate outlets and switches located on exterior walls using inexpensive foam sealing gaskets.
- Do you have a fireplace? If you don't use it often then cut a piece of fiberglass insulation and place it in the fireplace behind the glass doors to block the cold air coming down the chimney. Or if you don’t have glass doors then stuff it into the flue, just within reach, and within sight. You don’t want to forget it’s there the next time you light up a fire.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, get a tune-up on your central heating system. The last thing you want to happen when the bottom drops out of the thermometer is for your heater to stop working because of something that could easily have been prevented.
At GAMA Air we are standing by, ready to check out your heating & air unit, whether it is a furnace, heat pump, or boiler. Give us a call at (310) 651-6936, or use our online form to schedule a tune-up. Don’t forget, we 100% guarantee your satisfaction!
Curious about something related to your heating system? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and let us know what’s on your mind.