Mind the Pipes
We know that water expands when it freezes, so if there is water in your pipes when the cold comes, it will expand and can burst your pipes. Water can also build up behind ice, and the pressure can burst your pipes. Here is what you can do:
- -Drain water from outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems.
- -Leave faucets running a little bit to keep water moving (but only when it is freezing, so you don’t waste water).
- -Disconnect outdoor hoses.
- -Cover outdoor faucets with foam insulators.
- -Insulate pipes that are in unheated areas of your house.
- -Know where your shutoff valve is in case of an emergency!
Turn up the heat
If you haven’t turned your heater on yet, now is a good time for a test.
- -Make sure that you have changed the filter.
- -Consider a programmable thermostat (it saves energy and can start the heat in the morning, so you wake up toasty).
- -Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Most people use fans in the summer to keep cool, but if you reverse the fans, then they will pull heat down into the room.
Keep it out of the gutter
Clogged gutters can build up ice and debris. Clean them out before the winter starts. While you are up there:
- -Seal places in your attic around exhaust fans, chimneys, and attic access areas.
- -Make sure that soffit vents are clear to allow airflow into the attic.
Take care of your equipment
One of the best parts about winter? No more yard work! Make sure to clean and store your lawn equipment, so it is ready for the spring.
- -Empty the gas. It can damage the fuel lines and other components.
- -Clean the machine. Wipe the oil and other debris off of equipment and blades.
Light my fire
Nothing better than a fire on a cold night! Before you start the fire, make sure to clean out soot and debris (or hire someone to do that). Remember to close the flue when you are not using the fireplace, so warm air doesn’t escape.
Caulk around windows and doors or install weather stripping to keep the heat inside.
Prepare for the worst
In Oklahoma, we are usually ready for tornado warnings, but what about ice?! It is very common in ice storms for power lines to go down. To be ready:
- -Have an alternative heat source ready (generator or fireplace).
- -Have some games and flashlights and/or candles to pass the time while power may be out!
- -Have a fully charged fire extinguisher.
- -Don’t leave the house unprepared (have blankets and other essentials in the car). You can read more about that here.