10 tips for preventing damage to your home during this winter storm.
Special to BENEATH THE SURFACE NEWS
With a winter storm expected to wallop North Texas, Farmers Insurance agent Leslie Walker emailed me tips you can use to minimize damage to your home.
Stay warm, friends, and don’t slip on any ice.
1. Letting a water faucet drip can prevent water damage from frozen pipes: During cold weather, drip water from both hot and cold lines through the system. This will release pressure in the water system and if the pipes do freeze, dripping water will reduce the likelihood of a rupture.
2. Winterize outside faucets to prevent freezing and pipes burst: Always disconnect the garden hose from the outside faucet. Then determine if your faucet is frost-free or not. If your outside faucet is not frost-free, your outside faucet water line needs to be turned off and drained out.
3. Make sure all pipes are insulated: Pipes on outside walls, crawl spaces, attics or any pipe that is around a hole to the outside air are most vulnerable to freezing. Purchase foam tape and pipe insulation from any hardware store and install to these susceptible pipes to prevent them from freezing.
4. Turn up the thermostat: A good rule of thumb is to find the coldest temperature in your house where pipes are located and make sure your thermostat is at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit above that temperature.
5. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks (especially if these pipes are located on outside walls): Keeping these doors opened will allow warmer room air to circulate around these uninsulated pipes and prevent them from freezing.
6. Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage: Keeping the garage door closed and the temperature warmer than 32 degrees Fahrenheit will help prevent pipes from freezing.
7. Seal leaking windows and any other areas that have cold leaking issues: When temperatures are cold, windows that have gusts of wind come through and hit pipes can cause them to freeze. Caulk or inject foam sealant around windows that leak air. This will not only prevent pipes from freezing but will also save you money on energy costs.
8. Monitor water pressure: Keep an eye out for inconsistent water pressure. Irregular water pressure could be a sign of serious plumbing problems such as plumbing blockages and could mean your pipes are more at risk to freeze. If you notice different water pressures, identify and fix the problem to prevent frozen pipes.
9. Know where your main water valve shut-off is located: If a pipe breaks, turn the water shut-off valve off immediately to prevent more water damage. Taking time to find the shut-off after a loss has occurred could cost you hundreds of dollars.
10. Always have emergency contact numbers on-hand: Always have your insurance agent, and a licensed plumber phone number accessible in case you have an emergency.