As the air gets crisp, we know what's coming: winter's chilly embrace. But instead of dreading the snowdrifts and icy winds, let's winterize our homes and turn them into havens of warmth and comfort. It's time to winterize!
Tip #1 - Plumbing Preparedness: Avoid Frozen Frustration
Winterize your home with these steps:
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses: Empty any remaining water to avoid ice blockades.
Locate your main water shut-off valve: Know where to turn off the water in a hurry if a pipe cracks.
Insulate exposed pipes: Wrap vulnerable pipes with foam insulation to prevent freezing in extreme temperatures.
Avoid losing water: Leave a steady trickle of water flowing to avoid blockages.
"A flame or heat device should not be used to thaw pipes; you can actually overheat it and cause it to expand and cause it to break, so it's better to let it thaw naturally." - Oris Kemp TWU Operations Manager
Tip #2 - Heating System: Tune Up for Top Performance
Your furnace is your winter warrior! Keep it fighting fit with these maintenance tips:
Schedule a professional tune-up: A qualified technician can clean, inspect, and optimize your furnace for maximum efficiency and prevent potential breakdowns.
Change your air filter regularly: A clogged filter restricts airflow and makes your furnace work harder, wasting energy.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Don't skip this vital safety check!
"it's a good idea to make sure you have a clean air filter. Also, experts say you should keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night." - Michael Smith, Pioneer Comfort Systems president
Tip #3 - Check Your Thermostat Settings
You may be tempted to set your thermostat at bracing levels and stay warm by bundling up dressing in warm layers. However, health and energy experts say the magic number is 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you're going to be away during cold weather, leave the heat at a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Department of Energy.
"Anywhere around 70 degrees is a good target when it gets cold." - Ram Narayanamurthy, Deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office.
The World Health Organization recommends keeping indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees for healthy people. But for those who are very young, elderly, or who have health problems, the minimum temperature shouldn't dip below 68 degrees, the organization says.
Tip #4 - Windows: Layering Up to Keep Out the Cold
Use thermal curtains or even bubble wrap to add another layer of insulation. This will help keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Experts also advise using a rubber or silicon caulk to seal around your windows to prevent air from leaking out.
Tip #5 - Stock Up
Make sure you have several days worth of non-perishable food items that can be prepared without electricity in the event of a power outage. It is also advised to make sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand, first-aid supplies, and any medications you take so you can stay off the roads during inclement weather. We also suggest keeping a few puzzles, books, or decks of playing cards handy for entertainment.
"During the last severe winter storm, we shut off more than 1,000 water meters." - Oris Kemp TWU Operations Manager
Who to Contact If You Have a Problem
During inclement weather, if you have a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.
For downed electrical lines or power outages, contact your electric provider.
If you have bursted water lines, contact your local water department.