How to Protect Your Home in Freezing Temperatures
The winter season can be unforgiving on your home. It’s not all snow angels.
It’s only important that you apply the right steps in protecting your home from the cold.
Let’s start with the area surrounding your property. Obviously, this is the most vulnerable to freezing temperatures as well as heavy snowfall, so you will have to make sure it’s kept in good condition until springtime. For sure, certain plants and grass lay dormant underground, so you will have to keep your yard and front lawn fertile.
Here are a few things you can do:
1. Keep your lawn tidy
Pick up any leaves, trash, or any debris that can stop grass from growing. Moreover, this will keep your lawn clean and presentable as the season progresses. Finally, make sure to cut the grass to a shorter length during autumn. This is to prevent infestation as well as stimulate the growth of new grass.
2. Bring potted plants inside
If you have a box garden, you will need to bring it inside the house where it can get as much warm light as possible. However, sun-loving plants may die within days of being brought indoors. These plants need some time to adjust to life inside your home. So, before the autumn season arrives, you will need to let these plants stay inside for a certain period of time.
3. Mulch up your trees
Trees will hardly get any nourishment during the cold winter months. This is why you will need to apply some mulch as early as autumn, or just before the first snowfall happens. You can apply wood shavings, pine needles, and pine straw, or compost at the base of trees and even shrubs. This will essentially prevent that plants from drying up.
4. Take Good Care of Bushes and Shrubs
Trim any excess growth from these plants. You will also need to apply some fertilizer so that these plants can survive the worst the winter has to offer. During heavy snowfall, make sure you unload any snow that’s been caught by the branches. The weight of the snow can damage the plants.
5. Protect your patio
As the temperature continues to dip and heavy snowfall is very much likely to happen, you will have to secure any outdoor furniture that you have, especially the patio. You can either bring the furniture inside or simply cover them using a winter-proof tarp.
6. Don’t use too much salt
If you’re plowing your front lawn, you will have to use just the right amount of salt to melt away the snow. Using too much, however, can turn the ground infertile. To be sure, you can use water to dissolve some of the salt.
Plumbing and Irrigation Systems
Your pipes are highly susceptible to frost damage, especially when they happen to contain a small amount of water. Fortunately, you can get around this problem by following these crucial steps.
1. Turn off your sprinkler system
The first thing you will have to do is to turn off the water supply to your irrigation system. You can either blow out or drain the remaining water, which can expand and cause long-term damage to your irrigation system as it freezes.
2. Let your faucet drip
Standing water is never good when the temperature’s below zero. When you’re faucets are completely turned off, there’s a big risk that the water in the pipes would freeze over. You can avoid this problem by letting your faucet drip overnight to relieve pressure in your pipes.
3. Add insulation
Pipes that run through the basement and attic are at the mercy of the environment, considering that these two areas are not often properly insulated. For this, you can consider spray foam or tape that will prevent heat loss.
Warming up for the winter doesn’t have to be tedious (although, it can be at times). But with the right approaches, you can easily heat up the inside of your home.
1. Locate gaps and cracks
You will need to prevent warm air from escaping your home, but the first thing you will have to do is to find cracks and gaps that serve as exit points. These are basically found on doorways as well as windows.
One thing’s for sure, though, it’s difficult to find gaps and cracks, especially when they are too narrow or too thin for the human eye to see. The best way you can address this issue is to conduct a candle test.
Simply light a candle and put it near a door or window. When the flame flickers, you know there’s a leak somewhere nearby. Once you have located it, it’s only a matter of sealing it up.
2. Weather strip your doors and windows
If it gets drafty inside the house, you will need to weatherstrip your doors and windows to keep the cold out. Weather strips are fairly cheap and they are easy to apply.
Another viable option is sealing leaks using caulk, which is also cheap but more difficult to apply to windows and doors. Adhesive rubber tape is also a good choice if you’re aiming for a solution that could last the whole winter.
Whichever approach you use, it’s important that you apply them correctly to prevent heat escape.
3. Reinforce your windows
Aside from weather stripping materials, you can also consider adding the materials you need to keep warm air inside.
For this, you may want to replace your curtains with curtains that have a heavily insulated lining. Wool is often a great choice as it absorbs heat and reflects it back to sunlight.
If you don’t have any woolen garments lying around, you may want to use old rugs and carpets to cover your windows.
4. Open up for direct sunlight
It won’t snow forever, so you may want to stay abreast of the latest weather news. This is so you can prepare everything you need to handle unexpected changes in the climate.
For instance, if the weather says it’s going to clear up, then you might want to open your doors and windows to let as much of that glorious sunshine inside your home.
Once it gets dark, simply close the blinds and wait for the next sunshine.
5. Use an electronic thermostat
Technology continues to change as new disruptions come up. At present, everything right now is automated, from the way we serve our food to the way we shop for clothes, right down to the way keep ourselves warm.
Electronic thermostats are becoming very popular, and this is because of the fact that it’s cheaper and, more importantly, eco-friendly.
Most electronic thermostats are programmable, which means they can automatically adjust the temperature depending on the climate. Other features include zone heating in which the temperature of certain areas around the house is isolated from each other. This can help eliminate any cold spots.
6. Clean the fireplace and chimney
As early as autumn, you should have cleaned your chimney and gotten rid of any debris that got stuck in the smoke chamber. For this, you may want to contact a professional chimney cleaner to help unclog the shaft.
Aside from the chimney, you should also clean up the fireplace by throwing away pieces of char and ashes. This will make the flame bigger, resulting in a warmer indoor climate.
7. Inspect your furnace
Finally, it’s important that you check your furnace at least a month before the winter season arrives. Make sure to inspect the furnace for cracks and see if the heat exchanger is still in good condition.
Moreover, dust can affect the integrity of your furnace, so make sure to get rid of any dust or debris from the blower blades as well as the pilot.
With enough knowledge about servicing your furnace on your own, you can save a great deal of money that could have gone to a handyman.
Preparing for a snowstorm
A snowstorm or a blizzard can put your property at risk. More importantly, it can put the lives of people in danger.
That being said, it’s always important to prepare for any contingency. Here are a few things to remember when preparing your winter survival kit:
1. Charge your cellphones.
2. Fill the car with enough food.
3. Secure a flashlight and battery-powered weather radio.
4. Buy your medicine in bulk. For sure, many pharmacies won’t be open during a snowstorm, so it’s always advisable to replenish your stock.
For more tips and tricks on home maintenance and home improvement, be sure to check our blog for updated content. Contact me, Roz Booker, your premier real estate professional serving Collin County and surrounding DFW cities to help you narrow your decision to purchase new construction or a pre-existing home: 972-679-9311, Roz@ArbrookRealty.com, www.arbrookrealty.com.