The National Association of Realtors published these tips for homeowners to help keep homes safe from freezing temperatures and avoid costly repairs.
Open cabinet doors: This may seem unusual, but HouseLogic, a home maintenance and remodeling website operated by NAR suggests opening any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom during cold weather. “This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing,” the site notes. “While this won’t help much in pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.”
Insulate: Keep drapes and blinds closed except when windows are in direct sunlight. Also, cover window air conditioners and insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals, which are available at home centers. Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to help circulate more warm air.
Turn the faucets on inside: Turn the faucets on occasionally to keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. Aim for about five drips per minute, suggests HouseLogic.
Change filters on heaters: A heater needs to be checked annually to help prevent issues later on. Change your filters, especially if you haven’t done so in a while. A clogged filter can prevent heat from getting into the home.
Check outdoor connections: Make sure any outdoor spigots on all hoses have been disconnected and the spigots have been turned off and drained,.
Shut off water immediately if pipes are frozen: If your pipes are already frozen, turn off the water immediately. Close off any external water sources, such as garden hose hookups. “This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes—the worst-case scenario,” HouseLogic.com notes. “This will also help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system—and thus, your home.”