The cold winter weather is here is your home ready for it?
Lowe’s wants to get you ready and keep your home sweet home nice and warm.
Here are some tips to keep you warm and save you money.
WINTER STORM PREPARATION
• Plug the Drafts: The exterior of the house is the first line of defense against drafts – so caulk, seal, foam and weather-strip around all seams, cracks and openings.
• Keep the cold air out and the hot air in. Four relatively easy, yet cost effective weatherproofing projects to ensure a homeowner’s house is properly sealed include:
o Installing new weather-strips to windows and doors
o Replacing or applying new door sweeps to minimize or eliminate drafts under doors
o Installing switch and outlet plate sealers to eliminate drafts from permeating through wall cavities
o Caulk around windows and doors to keep the air where it’s supposed to be
• Change Furnace Filters Frequently: Clogged filters reduce airflow through the heating/cooling system, forcing the unit to work harder and less efficiently. Most furnace filters are inexpensive, disposable and easily replaced.
• Test Your Home for Energy Loss Around Doors & Windows
o Test #1
Place a dollar bill between the door and jamb or between the window sash and sill. With the door or window closed attempt to remove the dollar bill. If it slides out easily you are losing energy.
o Test #2
Shine a flashlight around the edges of your door at night. If you see light from the other side you are losing energy.
o Test #3
Pass a moist hand around the edge of your doors and windows. Where you feel a draft you are losing energy. This test works best on cold windy days.
• To prevent against freezing, allow every faucet to drip in order to maintain adequate water flow. Keep all sink cabinet doors open to enable maximum heat to reach exposed piping.
• When improperly insulated pipes freeze, you’ll first notice that water only trickles out, or won’t come out at all, when a faucet is turned on. Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve immediately to prevent water pipe bursting – a major source of flooding.
• There are several ways to unthaw pipes:
o Wrap rags around the pipe and pour hot water over the rags.
o Wrap a heat strip around the frozen pipe.
o Use a hairdryer focused on the frozen area.
o Use a space heater and point it towards the frozen areas.
• If you need to make a permanent repair, one of the easy ways to do it is with a pipe clamp. Wrap the pipe with a rubber pad, wrap the clamp around the pad and tighten the screws.
• There are a few elements and compounds used to melt ice – use a hand-held or push spreader to evenly distribute de-icing materials:
• Rock salt is the most common and probably the most cost effective. Keep in mind salt is harmful to concrete surfaces and more harmful on lower grades of concrete. It also is damaging to plants, flowers and shrubs and corrosive to metals, except stainless steel. Temperature greatly affects how well it melts. The colder it is, the less it melts.
• Calcium Chloride pellets are more costly than rock salt, but only damage concrete slightly. Calcium Chloride has a minor effect on plants, is very corrosive to metals and will melt ice at up to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
• De-icers should be used to de-ice. Don’t try to use them to melt snow – it’s a waste of material. Spread your de-icer after clearing the areas of snow, and apply after the threat of more snow is gone. Only if the property is in heavy use would you use de-icer application before the threat of more snow passes. De-icers also will dull the shine on a tile floor fast, too, so make sure you wipe your feet before going inside your home.
• There are a few elements and compounds used to melt ice:
• Cinders – are the grit in many salt/grit mixtures and can improve traction. Remember that when you apply a salt/traction mix, you will have to clean it up after the snow or ice melts.
• Sand – gives some improvement in traction. A downfall is it gets tracked all over the interior of your home if it’s applied on sidewalks. Sometimes it’s the lesser of two evils, as far as concrete stairs and walkways go – just make sure to wipe your feet before coming inside.
STORM SURVIVAL KIT
When bad weather strikes, it’s important to be prepared. Avoid the rush when severe weather hits by stocking up in advance on the products needed to survive the storm. Create a winter storm survival kit for under $100 and keep everyone safe at home, especially during power outages.
• First Aid Kit (About $16)
• Flashlight or 12-hour safety light stick (About $10)
• Batteries (About $10)
• Two-way radio with weather band (About $35)
• Snow Shovel (About $18)
• Ice melt (About $9)
WINTER STORM RECOVERY
• Following any snow or extreme cold, check to ensure no physical damage has occurred around the house and that water pipes have not frozen.
• When clearing fallen tree limbs and other debris from your property, be sure to always wear proper safety equipment, such as heavy boots, gloves, long sleeves, long pants and/or safety chaps and safety goggles. Stay away from downed or dangling lines, especially when clearing fallen trees.
• When using a chain saw, make certain it is equipped with an anti-kickback chain that is well-sharpened. Loose or dangling clothing should not be worn that could become caught in moving parts.
• When considering how to eliminate roof leaks caused by ice dams, leave it to a professional to remove roof ice.
HEATING ALTERNATIVES TO GAS AND ELECTRICITY
• It’s okay to pursue other means of heating your home to avoid rising energy prices, but remember to do it safely.
• Ensure wood stoves or electric space heaters bear the label of a recognized testing laboratory (e.g. UL) and meets local fire codes
• Burn only wood and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot coals
• Burn seasoned wood in fireplaces, since it burns longer and hotter than fresh-cut wood
• Turn off space heaters before leaving a room or going to sleep
• Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.
• Place all portable heaters and wood stoves at least 36 inches away from anything that can burn, including drapes, bedding, clothing and people
• Install at least one smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm on every level of the home and near the sleeping areas
• Always clean the chimney before using the fireplace for the first time of the season to avoid blocked vents and high carbon monoxide levels
• Never use charcoal or gas cooking stoves to heat the home
• When using generators, be sure to keep the unit outdoors in a well-ventilated area. As the carbon monoxide produced by the engine can be deadly, the units should never be run inside a home or enclosed area. Use a carbon monoxide detector to protect your family members. Set a reminder on MyLowe’s so you will get an email telling you to change the batteries on those detectors and smoke alarms.