An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure- Preparing Your Home for the Coming Cold Months
Benjamin Franklin famously advised fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736 that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Clearly, preventing disasters is preferable to living with the aftermath, but to what extent can we protect our homes from natural disasters? Winter is coming so what can you do this fall to prepare your home and property to prevent as much damage as possible?
- The bulk of calls we receive in winter stem from exposed water pipes. The worst of these come from unconditioned spaces like attics, garages and crawl spaces. So this weekend check your crawlspace, your attic and your garage for exposed pipes. Insulating pipes is an easy enough job for the typical homeowner to tackle using spray insulation foam for pipes or foam tubing you can find at your local hardware store. Or, you can hire a handyman or plumber to tackle this chore. Check the condition of the pipes and insulation yearly. Pipes and fittings wear out over time. Replacing worn out pieces before failure is a huge cost saver.
- Check to make sure your outdoor garden hoses are disconnected and insulate the hose bib from frost.
- Check to make sure your attic is insulated to the proper R rating. Then, check to make sure the water supply pipes are insulated and that the insulation tubes, or foam, are well secured and in good condition Check for cracks, splits or weak areas in the tubing or foam.
- If you have a crawlspace close the vents from the outside. Then go into your crawl space with a good flashlight and check to make sure those water pipes are insulated and that the insulation tubes, or foam, are well secured and in good condition. Keep your heat on during the coldest months, even if you’re going away. You can keep it lower than when you’re home to save on energy costs, but make sure to open up cabinet doors on outside walls where there are water pipes just in case there’s a cold snap while you’re away.
- Get a fall/winter tune up for your furnace and change your air filters. Your HVAC contractor will make sure all the parts are in good working condition so you don’t lose heat when you need it most. Changing your air filters regularly will prevent your system from having to work too hard. That will not only save you money in the short term it will increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.
- Clear out all your gutters from leaf debris and roofing gravel. If your gutters are full of debris the water cannot flow out. Gutters full of frozen material and ice are very heavy and can cause expensive damage to your home. So pull out some waterproof work gloves, safety goggles and a tall ladder this weekend and get them cleaned out. Or go ahead and hire an insured handyman to tackle this laborious chore. Bonus… Hang your Christmas lights while you’ve got the ladder out!
- Trim away tree limbs that hang over or near your home, especially if they’re dead or damaged. Not only will trimming the trees make them beautiful in the spring, your home will be better protected in case we have an ice or wind storm this winter. The last thing you’re going to want to deal with when it is cold out and icy is a tree limb through your roof or window.
The North Carolina Piedmont Region winters are unpredictable. We might just get rain and just a few days under freezing or we might get an ice storm that coats the entire region or we might get an inch or two of snow and weeks of below freezing weather. It’s best to play it safe and get as prepared as possible. In the case of ice and snow our roads become impassable and dangerous, even for emergency crews. If there is a flood in your home or a tree through your roof we will do our best to get to your home as soon as safety allows. Here are a few things you can do if a disaster should occur at your home.
- Shut off the source of the water at the water main if you can. If you cannot get to the water main shut the water to that pipe off.
- Turn off the circuit breakers for wet areas of your home, when access to the power panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Move any valuables out and away from the damaged or wet areas.
- If a tree falls into your home block off access to that part of the home. Create a barrier to block drafts.
Even with careful planning and preparation things can, and do, go wrong. From old plumbing to household accidents flooding keeps us here at SERVPRO of Johnston County busy all year long.
If you need help finding a trusted and insured plumber, HVAC technician or handyman in our area give us a call 919-359-2599 we are here to help!
By: Juju Clayson-Feld, Director of Customer Service, SERVPRO of Johnston County