Plumbing & Heating tips from A1 Choice Plumbers in Kelowna & West Kelowna
Fall is a prelude to falling temperatures, and to the encroaching arrival of winter. Winterizing your vacation home is an important step to making sure it stays cozy and secure as outdoor temperatures drop. Failing to winterize your home can result in problems like water leaks, bursting pipes, structural damage and invading pests or rodents. Some summer homes just weren’t built for winter, and that is why winterizing your home avoids unnecessary worry about the weather and avoidable repair bills. Here are our top 10 tips to get your summer home prepared for the coming winter.
PROTECT YOUR PLUMBING
When winter temperatures plummet, water can easily freeze inside, causing them to burst. If you are out of the house or unaware of a burst pipe, the results can be disastrous, including massive home floods and damage to your furniture, rugs and home structure. To reduce the possibility of frozen pipes wrap all exterior pipes as well as pipes in unheated areas of your summer home with polyurethane or fiberglass pipe insulation.
TURN OFF THE WATER
Locate and turn off the main water valve. Leave taps open to drain away any lingering water that could freeze inside. Drain all toilets and tanks, and pour a small amount of non-toxic marine antifreeze into toilet bowls and drains to prevent frost.
Fires can develop in electrical circuits as well as from appliances, even if they are not turned on. As a safeguard, identify and mark all non-essential (anything other than your heating system, security system, and outdoor lighting) circuit breakers in your home’s electrical box and switch them off. Turn off and unplug all appliances.
If you plan to use your fireplace this winter, make sure your chimney is clean and no critters have made themselves at home there. Call a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and clean out soot and other hazardous debris.
If you live in a location with hard water, sediment can build up in your tank, causing rust to develop inside. This rust can then find its way into your drinking, cooking and bathing water. If your hot water heater is rusted or already way past its ‘best before’ date, then replace it before the arrival of winter.
SEAL THE CRACKS
Inspect the exterior of the home and seal any crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes. Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and replace cracked glass in windows.
Falling tree branches can harm roofs, siding, gutters, porch railings, decks, cars, and even, most importantly, people. Find and remove tree branches, or cut them down if they’re hanging precariously over your property. This leads conveniently into our next point.
REDUCE FIRE HAZARDS
Remove from your summer home any and all items that could provide tinder for a fire. Remove stacks of papers and don’t store cans of stain, paint or paint thinners, oily rags and brushes, or other combustibles in the property.
EMPTY THE REFRIGERATOR
Make sure to empty and defrost the refrigerator, leaving the door ajar and the unit unplugged. Discard any food, toiletries or medications containing liquids that could freeze, and place food packaged in paper or plastic in sealed metal containers to prevent snacking by invading rodents.
Give your furnace a tune-up in the fall before the cold weather hits. This is cheaper, faster, and certainly more convenient than suffering a breakdown in the winter and waiting in a cold home for repairs. Regular maintenance helps ensure proper airflow throughout your home and keeps you and your family safe by detecting leaks. Regular maintenance of your furnace will also improve your energy savings and lower your utility bills.
Don’t let this be you!
These tips on how to winterize your summer home will go a long way in preventing cold weather problems. They will also protect your home from water damage, heating or electrical system malfunctions and other possible threats while you are away for an extended period of time.
If you require the services of an expert plumber, A1 Choice Plumbing & Drain is your number 1 choice. We are family owned and operated and proud to offer complete residential and commercial plumbing work in West Kelowna, Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan Valley.