Now is the time to start winterizing your sprinkler systems, hose bibs, and any vacant properties in Northern Virginia so your pipes do not freeze and burst. Protecting your home from winter weather can increase the value, reduce monthly heating costs, and prevent costly water damage.
Winterizing your home includes outdoor chores. You should take care of the outdoor work in the fall before it gets too cold and dangerous to work outside.
Whether You Do Them Yourself or Hire a Professional
Clean the gutters. Leaves and debris in gutters and downspouts restrict the flow of water from melting snow. This leads to ice build-up in the gutters and eventually ice dams.
Seal the cracks. One of the simplest—and most effective—ways to stop cold-air infiltration is to remove and replace old, dried caulk around the outside of windows, doors, hose bibs, and where siding overlaps the foundation.
Window insulation. Windows are a big cause of heat loss in winter. Replace energy-inefficient windows or install storm windows. Storm windows mount to the exterior of existing windows and provide an extra layer of protection against cold weather, including snow, wind, and rain. Come spring, these units can be removed and stored away until next winter.
Replace door weather stripping. Inspect the weather stripping around all exterior doors to ensure that it’s in good shape and not ripped, crushed, or missing.
Don’t Forget the Following Steps Inside of Your Home
Keep it cozy. Set your thermostat for at least 65 degrees. Install a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature to your schedule.
Seal around electrical outlets. A surprising amount of cold air blows in around electrical outlets. An easy, affordable way to seal up drafty outlets is with foam-rubber outlet gaskets. Simply remove the outlet cover plate, press the gasket over the electrical outlet, then replace the cover.
Add attic insulation. The most effective use of insulation is in the attic. Unfortunately, most homes have either no insulation or too-little insulation in the attic. According to the EPA, attics should have a minimum of R-38 insulation, which is typically between 10 and 14 inches deep. A properly insulated attic floor will prevent heated air in the rooms below from flowing into the attic.
Reverse ceiling fans. In winter, reverse the blade rotation so they blow up. This way, the fan will force warm air trapped at the ceiling down into the room.
Insulate hot water pipes. Reduce heat loss and save energy—and money—by insulating all of your hot water pipes. Pipe insulation comes in two basic types: foam-rubber sleeves that you slip onto the pipe, and insulated wraps that you wind around the pipe.
Six Things to Do When a Frozen Pipe Bursts
If you do experience water damage from a pipe that bursts in your Northern Virginia home despite your best winterization efforts:
- Find your home’s main water supply and shut it off
- Turn off your main electrical supply to reduce the risk of electrical shock and damage to circuits and electrical appliances.
- If the water comes from a hot water pipe, shut the main valve to your water heater as well.
- Call Metropolitan Contractors right away at 703-591-2830 for water damage restoration services in Northern Virginia. We provide a 24/7 emergency response to limit the damage to your home and start the restoration process.
- Your safety is most important. Please do not attempt potentially dangerous repairs. Be aware of submerged electrical outlets, appliances, or chemicals that may be inside standing water.
- Report your claim once you’ve safely secured your home from more damage.