The Big Freeze GETTING READY FOR COLDER TEMPERATURES
Living in Greater Vancouver, we don’t often get really cold weather, but when we do, it hits us hard. Last year was one of those seasons when it was particularly brutal. We learned many important lessons as the chill settled in and we had to deal with icy conditions. As I’ve said before, the hotter the summer, the colder the winter. This is why I’ve been telling you the importance of maintaining your heating system. However, with all the talk about heating systems and routine maintenance, there is another system in your home that can be overlooked as the cold weather sets in: the plumbing. When I talk about icy conditions, I’m not talking about roads and sidewalks. Last winter, we received a number of calls about frozen pipes. You might not realize it, but frozen and burst pipes can cause extensive damage to both your home and your wallet, especially in the dead of winter. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your plumbing system is protected and ready for freezing temperatures. The most at-risk parts of your plumbing system are exposed pipes. Pipes that are outside and in crawl spaces and attics need protection. Adding insulation to the pipes can significantly help, as can adding insulation to any interior spaces that aren’t currently insulated. If you don’t have frost-free outside faucets, make sure each line is isolated. Check for valves connected to outside pipes and make sure they are closed so water cannot flow out. Also, be sure to clear water out before the cold
temperatures set in to avoid costly ruptures.
On that note, I do recommend upgrading to frost-free or frost-proof outside faucets if your home does not already use them. When properly installed, frost-free faucets are designed to prevent the accumulation of ice inside the faucet and connected pipe. When ice does build up in pipes, the expansion of the ice can lead to serious damage and ruptures. When a pipe ruptures, water can pour into your home. According to insurance companies, water damage is at the top of their list for
insurance claims. This type of disaster is very costly for them, as well. If you do experience a rupture and water damage, you can expect your insurance premiums to go up. Before the cold sets in this winter, be sure to disconnect all hoses from your outside faucets, including frost-free faucets. As a side note, frost-free faucets are not nearly as effective if a hose is connected and freezing temperatures set in. At the same time, clear out any water that may have settled in your hoses. You can use gravity, or blow out the water with compressed air. Then, store your hoses in an insulated area where they will not freeze or deteriorate. After all, you spent good money on those hoses, not to mention your home.
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