Tag Archives: Prepare for winter

Prevent & Thaw Frozen Pipes This Winter

frozen-pipes-620x400Generally speaking, the winters here in Georgia remain somewhat mild in relation to other areas within the U.S.; however—as evidenced by the icy weather last January—even in the South, deep freezes do happen.

Sadly, not all houses are built the same, particularly those situated in warmer climates.  Here in Georgia, since freezing temperatures tend to be the exception rather than the rule, most homes are built with water pipes which are located in unprotected, uninsulated parts of the structure; however, aside from general construction differences, variation can even be found within the homeowners themselves, since people generally accustomed to warmer weather tend to be less aware of freezing problems.

Therefore, since frozen pipes can often be an extremely messy and expensive problem, it’s important to understand why it happens and how to make sure it doesn’t happen in your home.

WHY DO PIPES FREEZE?

For anyone who has ever put a can of soda in the freezer to watch what the expanding, frozen liquid does to the actual can, it’s helpful to think of the pipes in your home the same way.  Water expands as it freezes, which puts extreme pressure on whatever medium is holding it in—to include both metal and plastic piping.

Thus, the pipes that pose the greatest risk for homeowners are, as previously mentioned, ones that are exposed to severe cold without protection—i.e. outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and unheated interior lines in areas such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, and garages, as well as pipes that run along exterior walls with little or no insulation.

HOW TO PREVENT FROZEN PIPES IN ADVANCE

Before the really cold weather sets in, consider following these recommendations:

1. Drain all water from swimming pool and water sprinkler lines following the manufacturer’s directions.  Also, avoid the use of antifreeze in these lines unless directed by a professional, since antifreeze is not only environmentally harmful, but particularly dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.

2. Remove and drain all hoses that are used outside, and close the inside valves supplying your outdoor house bibs.  Open the outside house bib so the water can drain and allow it to remain open so any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break.

3. Take note of other sections in your home where water pipes may be located in unheated areas.  Whether the piping is for hot or cold water, insulate them for protection.

4. Consider using specific products for pipe insulation such as pipe sleeves or heat tape.  If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money, even newspaper wrappings can provide some degree of protection in exposed areas.

STEPS TO TAKE DURING COLD WEATHER

1. If your water supply lines are in the garage, keep the garage door closed to protect your pipes from the elements.

2. When the temperatures take a drastic dip (particularly 20° F or lower), let the faucet drip with cold water.  Running water, even if it’s only a trickle, can help stop the pipes from freezing.

3. If you plan on traveling or being away from your home for an extended period of time, make a point to leave the heat on (set to no lower than 55° F).

TO THAW ALREADY FROZEN PIPES

If you attempt to turn on the faucet and only a trickle comes out—or nothing at all—it’s safe to say that the pipe is probably frozen.  To remedy the situation, consider the following:

1. Keep the faucet open as you begin treating the pipe.  Once things begin to thaw, continued running water will help the ice melt faster.

2. Apply heat directly to the pipe through the use of an electronic heating pad, hair dryer, or portable space heater.  Towels soaked in hot water can also be used to wrap around the pipes; however, avoid using any methods that involve an open flame.

3. Check all additional water sources in the home to see if there are other frozen pipes.  If there appears to be a frozen area that you either cannot access or cannot thaw, call a licensed plumber for assistance.

PROTECTION FOR THE FUTURE

Sure, deep freezes are rare here in Georgia, but that doesn’t mean they don’t occur.  Plain and simple, it only takes one really cold day for a burst pipe to create a horribly expensive mess, so it’s wise to consider not only adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces, but to maintain higher temperatures in these areas.  Furthermore, if you’re planning a remodel, speak with the contractor about the possibility of relocating certain exposed pipes.

Protecting your home is important, especially if you’re attempting to sell it and it’s sitting vacant.  Don’t let that possible sale turn into a nightmare of water damage and foundation work.

If you have any questions or would like the referral of an experienced, reputable plumber, please feel free to contact me.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.dinsmoreteam.com | 770-712-7789

Get Started on Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

fall-house-e1410287548221While the weather is still relatively warm in this part of the country, it’s hard to miss the whispers of fall that have begun to make their way into the rustling leaves and cool, crisp mornings.  While autumn is characterized by a sort of sleepy transition into the frosty winter months, it’s also the perfect time to put a bit of effort into some do-it-yourself tasks that will have a positive impact on both the state of your home, as well as your wallet.

1.) GUTTERS: It’s not uncommon for most of us to overlook the true impact that gutters have on our property.  Without a whole lot of aesthetic appeal, it’s easy to forget that they divert thousands of gallons of water from our homes on an annual basis.  Unless you make a point to keep them clean, clogged gutters can lead to water in your home and an abundance of rust, rot, and corrosion.  Therefore, before the foliage really begins to change, make a point to have your gutters thoroughly cleaned and covered with a mesh guard.

2.) STOP LEAKS: When it comes to energy costs, nothing can hurt your wallet like air leaks around windows and doors.  Generally speaking, gaps in your weather stripping and caulk may actually add about 10% to your heating bill, so it’s important to look for leaks.  For areas that appear to need your attention, replace any worn weather stripping or missing/damaged caulk and don’t forget to check around all electrical, cable, and phone entry points.

3.) DON’T NEGLECT YOUR ROOF: Instead of waiting until there’s water coming through your ceiling, it’s important to inspect your roof so that little annoyances are stopped before they become massive problems.

Start by inspecting your roof from top to bottom and looking for cracks and wind damage, as well as missing, broken, or curled shingles.  While you’re up there, take a look into your gutters—if you notice large accumulations of granules, your roof may be shedding its coating, which means further issues are just around the corner.

4.) INSPECT YOUR FURNACE: While it may seem a bit redundant, it’s important to have your furnace inspected by a professional once a year.  Again, while it may cost you a little bit of money, prevention will save you from having to shell out an abundance of money for large repairs and replacements.

On your own, pay attention to things such as noisy belts, erratic behavior, and general poor performance.  All of these things can be signs that your parts are faulty, worn, or damaged, or that your heating ducts are blocked.

5.) STAY ON TOP OF GAS PROBLEMS: If you have a gas heater, keeping it in working condition is not only a cost issue, but a safety issue as well.  Having a professional check it each year will not only save you money in operating costs, but help prevent poisonous gases from leeching into the air of your home.

6.) FIRE PROOFING: Sure, the likelihood of your home going up in flames is pretty slim; however, it happens and for anyone who has seen what a house fire looks like, the sight is truly horrific.  Therefore, as we head towards winter and things like Christmas lights and trees, it’s important to take some extra steps to protect your family in case of a fire.

The first step involves not only replacing the batteries in each of your smoke detectors (don’t neglect your carbon monoxide detectors as well!), but testing them and making sure one is installed on every floor of your home—including the basement.

Next consider drawing up a few fire escape plans and make sure there’s no furniture or large items blocking any potential exits (to include windows).  If you’ve found yourself accumulating things like old newspapers or leftover hazardous chemicals, be aware of the fact that they present an increased fire hazard, so getting rid of them will help keep your family safe.

CONCLUSION

In the end, keeping your home in working order throughout the winter doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money.  If you stay on top of the little things and diligently complete them on an annual basis, then the chances that you’ll have to deal with large issues goes down exponentially.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.dinsmoreteam.com | 770-712-7789

Community Resources

WELCOME

2019 Welcome Services

The Dinsmore Team has created this handy guide for both Buyers and Sellers. The guide lists trusted service providers that we use personally and professionally. The providers listed service the Forsyth and North Fulton County areas.

2014 Complete Guide to Moving

This 20-Page Guide will be your comprehensive source for selling your home and planning your move. It includes tips for getting ready to sell, planning your move, packing and transitioning into your new home.

2014 Home Owners Tip Guide

This 20-Page Guide will help you develop an annual maintenance schedule for your home's systems and appliances to help you avoid bigger problems by taking care of them while they are small. It's also a great resource for trouble shooting malfunctions on your own, saving you time and money.


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Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com

770-712-7789