Preventing Home Disasters Caused by Extreme Weather
The home can become a sitting duck when ill-prepared for a winter storm. Frigid temperatures and extreme weather quickly create problems for a home's HVAC system. Busted pipes, clogged filters, and unprotected air conditioning can lead to expensive damages and require professional repairs. The good news is, there are three basic areas where homeowners can prepare their homes for winter.
Winterization: The Basics
Winterizing is essentially the process of weather-proofing the home. The moment Fall arrives, homeowners should start looking to winterize their property. There are countless ways to achieve a winter-proof home, but tried and true solutions focus on the heater, the air conditioner, and the pipes.
- The Heater: The heater requires attention before winter arrives. Plenty of homeowners fall prey to a busted furnace the first time they turn it on for the winter. To avoid surprise furnace failures, homeowners should schedule annual maintenance and replace the furnace filters every three to six months. They should also run the heater a few times before winter fully arrives to ensure everything is in working order.
- The Air Conditioner: What does the air conditioner have to do with preventing winter HVAC snafus? Quite a bit, actually. Exposed and uninsulated wall air conditioners can allow the elements an entrance point in the home and give cold winter air easy access to the insulation and pipes in the wall. Any central air units or exposed wall units should be covered with a water-proof material for the winter months, and it's also a good idea to shut off the power to central air to avoid using the system by accident in the winter.
- The Pipes: It may be surprising to see pipes included on an HVAC preparedness check-list, but the home's pipes can pose a serious threat to the HVAC system if they freeze or burst. Before winter hits, homeowners should shut off the external water pipes like those used for the garden or fountains and check that any exposed pipes inside are insulated properly.
Insulation: The Basics
Insulation is essential to protecting a home from extreme weather in both winter and summer. In summer, insulation keeps excessive heat out of the home, while in the winter, it keeps the cold air out. Poorly insulated homes are more susceptible to freezing pipes, loss of heat, and cold spots.
Pipes, as previously mentioned, should be insulated if they are exposed. Homeowners can have the rest of the house inspected in an energy audit or by an insulation expert to verify that there are no areas with failing insulation. Over time, insulation can slide down and collapse in the attic and walls, and eventually, all homes will need re-insulated.
Emergency Heat "Tool Box" Basics
Even after the heater and the insulation has been inspected, there are risks of power or heater failure. When this happens, it is essential to have an emergency heating "toolbox" available.
Preparing for power and heat failures can be achieved by investing in an emergency heat source. Inexpensive and portable options range from a terracotta pot with candles to a non-pressurized alcohol heater that operates like a camping stove. A longer-lasting and permanent emergency heat source includes wood-burning and pellet stoves or a radiant propane heater. It's smart to have at least a week's worth of heating supplies around in case of power outages. Pairing emergency supplies of hand warmers and warm, thick clothes can help keep a home's occupants warm during an outage.
Homeowners should keep in mind that winterization, insulation, and emergency supplies work best together, and when used together, can help keep a home safe and warm during winter weather.
About C. Woods Company
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