We at Twin Pines know that proper preparation is the best way to prevent damage, especially when it comes to snow and low temperatures. Our guide to Protecting Your Landscape from Snow provides tips for preventing damage to the area outside of your home from the landscaping experts at Twin Pines. This edition of the Protection Plan for your Home, will feature advice from our Plumbing and Chimney experts, and will highlight how to keep these vital aspects of your home safe in the cold.
Bursting pipes and damaged plumbing systems are always a hazard in the extreme cold. One of the most sufficient ways to prevent this damage is with proper insulation. In areas that are most vulnerable to temperatures, including attics, crawl spaces, and walls on the outside of the home, wall insulation should surround pipes to help keep them warm and safe.
Areas in the home with pipes that cannot be kept warm with insulation, such as under the sink or in certain closets, need to be prepped for the cold in a different way. The experts in Twin Pines’ plumbing division, R&M Plumbing and Heating, suggest keeping cabinet and closet doors open during extreme low temperatures in order to allow the heat in the house to circulate around the pipes and prevent the water inside from freezing.
The indoor plumbing isn’t the only area that needs your attention during cold and snowy weather. Irrigation systems should be winterized (a service provided by many lawn care companies, including Twin Pines). On top of the winterization, it’s important for homeowners to remember to disconnect exterior hoses from their faucets in the cold weather, and instead install frost-free hoses and hose bibbs. This extra effort will prevent problems from arising with these exterior plumbing systems, which could cause lasting damage if unprotected.
Finally, to ensure plumbing systems throughout your home stay at a safe level, it’s important to keep the thermostat in your home set at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. While this might be a tough adjustment for cost-conscious home owners who might prefer to heat their home with a natural fireplace or a bunch of cozy blankets, your pipes will thank you for the toastier conditions come springtime.
Plumbing concerns aside, many homeowners do choose to maintain that 55 degree temperature in their home with a wood burning fireplace or stove. While this is a viable option in many circumstances, it’s important to take the time to prep your fireplace and chimney properly to ensure the safety of your home and yourself through the winter.
The number one cause of winter house fires is poor preparation of these heating systems. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to prevent these dangerous effects is by scheduling to have your chimney and flue cleaned annually. Experts like those in Twin Pines’ Clean Sweep Chimney and Gutter division can come out and provide a proper cleaning so that when it comes time to heat your home, your fireplace is prepped and ready to go.
Another easy way to prevent home damage from using a fireplace is to use a fire screen. These pieces (which range in style, material, and design) help control flying embers when burning wood, and are a necessary–and often stylish–addition
to your fireplace.
Experts also suggest burning only seasoned hardwood in your fireplace, in order to prevent a buildup of creosote in your chimney. Homeowners looking to make the switch to seasoned hardwood can look for local companies like Twin Pines who sell these wood in early fall.
After burning wood, be sure to refrain from putting ashes in or near the trash. Embers can remain hot and burning within the ashes even if they look harmless, and can catch trash on fire if deposited there.
Homeowners who choose to heat their home with electric devices rather than fireplaces also need to beware of the dangers that come with it. Experts in Twin Pines’ heating division, R&M Plumbing and Heating, suggest servicing furnaces and boilers at least once a year, and preferably before a season in which they will be in high use. Hire a local company like R&M to help repair, maintain, or even replace your water heater or boiler to ensure you are set for cold months.
What’s more, those homeowners who choose to use portable space heaters should be wary of keeping them at least 3 feet away from objects that are flammable. Objects like bedspreads, curtains, or even furniture pieces are more likely to heat and catch flame when left too close to these heaters.
Protecting your home from cold weather can be daunting, but with proper care and preparation it doesn’t have to be! Take these steps to keep your plumbing and chimney systems running smoothly in winter, then check out our guide to protecting your landscape to make sure the outside of your property remains safe in snowy months, as well!