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Winter Has Come

As winter blankets our surroundings with colder temperatures and shorter days, it's time to fortify our homes against the impending weather onslaught. Don't fret; we're here to discuss some essential tips to help your home weather the storm.

This time of the year can wreak havoc on a home with snow, rain, and below-freezing temperatures accompanied by frigid winds. Remember, preventive maintenance is always easier and cheaper than reactive repairs. Below is a checklist of items that should be addressed at the very least each year:

  1. Pipe Insulation: Install or replace pipe insulation in areas where exterior temperatures reach the pipes (attics, crawlspaces, well houses, and hose spigots). Brittle insulation in older homes can easily fall apart and needs prompt replacement. Conduct yearly inspections to ensure your pipes stay cozy during winter.

  2. Drafty Windows and Doors: Drafty windows and doors can wreak havoc on your home's interior. Cold air rushes in, warm air fights to escape, and the collision of the two can lead to condensation issues. In older homes, doors may settle and lose their plumb, allowing sunlight to peek through. A simple maintenance routine, including re-plumbing the door and adding new weather stripping, can restore your old doors to their former glory.

  3. Outdoor Hose Spigots: Protect outdoor hose spigots in colder temperatures to prevent freezing. Invest in styrofoam dome covers with bungees for a snug fit. Consider upgrading to frost-proof spigots, especially in exterior and livestock locations. Frost-proof spigots turn off the water below the frost line or inside the house, minimizing the risk of freezing at the valve.

  4. Crawlspace Vent Covers: Install crawlspace vent covers to block cold temperatures from entering. Since most plumbing is located in this area with limited insulation, it's crucial to avoid frigid water adventures or emergency plumber expenses. While some vents come with self-closing louvers, a reliable vent cover purchase often suffices. Ensure crawlspace doors are secured, closed, and airtight.

  5. Outside Water Heaters: With outside water heaters becoming more common, especially in properties without garages or basements, it's essential to address potential issues. Water heaters in crawlspaces can lead to water damage if not properly managed. Install well-fitted enclosures with insulated metal walls to prevent wind damage. Insulate hot and cold pipes within the cabinet to avoid freezing.

  6. Wells and Well Houses: For areas still reliant on wells, ensure full coverage from top to bottom and install an incandescent light bulb to generate sufficient heat and prevent freezing. Avoid using LED bulbs, as they don't produce enough heat and won't serve the purpose.

Remember to exercise caution when entering these areas and make ample noise before proceeding. It's better to startle a critter at the door than encounter one face-to-face while belly-crawling. By adhering to these basic tips, you can bid farewell to winter midnight blues and welcome spring with a worry-free home.

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