Winterizing against water damage

It’s October. Between Thanksgiving, Halloween and squeezing the last few days out of summer and our regular lives, it doesn’t leave much time to prepare your home for winter.

  • Have your lawn-irrigation system professionally winterized. If you don’t and it freezes, you could be in for an expensive spring. Book your winterizing now for peace of mind. It’s also a good time to drain your garden hoses.
  • Turn off exterior faucets. Water left in pipes and hoses that are exposed to the elements can freeze and burst. If you have interior shutoffs you can plan on closing them off now. If you have sill faucets, they self-drain, and their design allows the faucet handle to be located on the outside of the house, while the valve mechanism is inside the house. On the exterior you usually see a 45-degree spout with a handle. Connected to the spout is a 10” to 12” pipe that extends into the interior of the home where the handle controls the flow valve safely away from the elements.
  • Protect your foundation by directing water well away from the structure. Add extensions to downspouts so water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. You can purchase color matching elbows and pipe at any home improvement retailer.
  • Protect your pipes. Use foam padding sleeves (they look kind of like pool noodles) or special insulating tape to guard your pipes (both hot water and cold water) against freezing. During the winter, on those really cold days, you should check out pipes in basements and crawlspaces to make sure no frost or ice is accumulating.
  • When the leaves have finished falling, clean out your gutters. Gutters that are clogged up with leaves and other debris may result in ice dams during the winter, or water pooling on the roof during a hard rain. This in turn may lead to problems such as damaged or missing shingles, roofing leaks, broken gutter systems, etc. Clogged gutters may also result in improper drainage which could mean basement flooding.
  • Check out your roof covering. Missing shingles or damaged flashing results in roof leaks, which means water damage. The roof should be in optimal working order before the winter elements begin to set in.
  • If you can, flush the hot water heater. This should be done every year, as sediment builds up on the floor of the heater and may cause the unit to spring a leak. A leaking hot water heater can flood a basement or garage in less than a day and the cleanup is never pleasant.

For more information on winterizing tips click here.

Hugh Cairns welcomes your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com or interiorinfrared.com.

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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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