It has already snowed twice in Arkansas this winter, and it made me wonder – is my home truly ready for winter? Just because you can’t be too sure, here are a few things to double check so you know your home is ready for winter.
Hoses are disconnected, pipes are running and your gutters are clear.
Every winter you always hear “don’t let your pipes freeze!” But what does that even mean?
Typically, exposed pipes (think the water spouts on the exterior of your home) will harbor water and when temperatures drop the water in the pipes freeze. That frozen water creates pressure in the pipe. Eventually, someone will unknowingly turn on their water, but because there’s ice blocking the pipe, the pipe will succumb to pressure and burst. If you’ve ever hear someone say “let your faucets drip,” they’re telling you to keep a flow of water through your pipes because moving water will ease the pressure that may be building up in your pipes from frozen water.
This same principle can be applied to gutters. When there’s a blockage, like fall leaves or ice, that blockage acts like a dam that prevents water from running through the gutter and down the pipe. The goal here is to get water away from your foundation. When water runs over the gutter, it’s now near your foundation, which completely defeats the purpose of having gutters in the first place.
Your home is sealed.
To prevent your pipes from bursting, you can also make sure your home is properly sealed. At the end of December, my husband and I called Evans Go Green to help us ensure our home was properly sealed. Evans Go Green is a FREE service in our area that works with local energy providers to ensure those energy providers decrease their energy consumption every year and avoid fines.
You know that the heat in your home isn’t escaping and you aren’t running your heater endlessly when your heating and air unit is running how it should. That heat is trapped in your home. That heat is also heating your pipes, which will prevent you from having a construction site inside or outside your home in the middle of January.
Check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
As a first responder family, we know the ins and outs of some of they key aspects of things like fire safety. For instance, our smoke detectors are properly installed and have up to date batteries. One fun way you can remember this is to change the batteries in your smoke detectors every time we spring forward or fall back.
Today, some smoke detectors come equipped with carbon monoxide alarms, also a handy feature to keep you staying safety conscious.
Have you ever looked at your electricity bill after that first hot day of summer and thought, “there’s no way we can afford to live like this?!” Yeah, me too.
When your home is sealed, the heat or cool air your heating and air unit won’t escape. But even you can help your heating and air unit work a little less harder – by not running it as often as you think may be necessary. One way you can do this is follow the seasons – keep the inside of your home cooler during the winter and hotter during the summer. Not only can you slash your electric bill in half, you can potentially extend the life of your unit.
Other options to consider are to run your ceiling fan (if you have them) or box fans, like this one. Personally, my husband and I prefer oscillating fans, like this one. At night, we try to keep our thermostat reasonable for whatever season we’re in and run the fan when we’re needing to cool down.