Extreme Cold Can Cause Extreme Damage

The U.S. is experiencing an unusual snap of subzero temperatures. While keeping warm during the bitter cold, first-time homeowners must also take care to keep their homes safe as well.

Most of us won’t experience anything like our northern neighbors but, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them. The Madison Water Utility posted a photo on Twitter showing homeowners what can happen when a pipe bursts and the damage it can cause.

The photo, taken at a vacant home in Madison, shows the massive damage caused by the broken pipe. “They shut the heat off, so then the water burst up in the top level, maybe a toilet or a bathtub, and it obviously just kept leaking and leaking and leaking,” Matt Grauvogl, Madison’s Water Utility Field supervisor, said about the photo to WKOW.com.

Many homeowners are experiencing this level of cold for the first time. Here are a few tips from the experts on how to protect your home from the extreme cold:

Open The Kitchen And Bathroom Cabinet Doors

Although this may sound strange, HouseLogic, a home maintenance and remodeling website operated by the National Association of REALTORS®, makes the suggestion. Opening any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom during cold weather allows the home’s warm air to circulate under the cabinets, helping to prevent exposed pipes 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.” If you think of your home as an investment property, then you will see that taking the time to deal with these issues before rather then later can save a lot of time and money.

Insulate Windows And Doors And Outlets

Heavy drapes and closed blinds help keep out the cold. Covering window a/c units and insulating electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals can also keep the cold out. Run ceiling fans in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.

Keep The Faucets Running On A Slow Drip

Turn the faucets on in extreme temperatures. Aim for about five drips per minute, suggests HouseLogic.

Replace heater filters.

Dirty filters prevent heat from transferring into the home. “It’s no different than our vehicles that require preventative maintenance,” Steve Kistner, general manager at Kalins Indoor Comfort, told KTIV.com. “Our heating and cooling systems need the exact same things so they can work when we all count on them in this extreme cold. Eighty to 90 percent of the calls we go on right now are maintenance-related.”

Check Outdoor Water Pipes And Connections

Turn off and drain outdoor spigots and remove and drain hoses. Wrap any exposed pipes with pipe covers from the local hardware. Blankets and old towels also make good insulation when there is nothing else.

If Pipes Freeze Turn The Water Off

If the pipes freeze, turn off the water immediately. “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.”

Staying warm in this crazy weather is imperative and taking care of our homes will ensure that we don’t have major problems when the thaw comes.  For more information about cold weather damage contact a Realtor in your area.