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Preparing Your Home for the Coming Winter — What To Do?

Houses During Winter

Homes are kept alive and thriving by people. They go downhill quickly if they are not given attention by the people. If you live in areas where winter is harsh, some maintenance of your house will be helpful in the dreadful season. The modern architecture provided by Newstart Homes is prone to dealing with the weather but some considerations go a long way.

1. Check the Heating System

Most heating systems last for 12-15 years depending upon maintenance. Before winter winds start blowing hard, at least check and change the filters of the system. Get your system checked by a contractor for a smooth winter or get an annual maintenance agreement with a company. It is better to find problems right now and have them fixed before the weather changes. 

One way to prolong any household appliance’s lifespan is to conduct regular maintenance. Your heating system is no different. Regularly clean your filters and ductwork. There are different makes of HVAC systems. This, however, doesn’t preclude any of them from requiring regular filter replacement and cleaning. 

The average duration for replacing filters may range from three to six months. If your system has thinner filters, you may need to replace them more frequently. For larger systems, filters need replacement after six to nine months. 

After cleaning or replacing your filters, the overall performance of your unit improves. The heating and cooling unit will also last longer. To further increase the efficiency of your heating system, have a pro check your ductwork. If there are leaks in the AC system, your plumber can do emergency AC service immediately. Fixing leaks prevents the loss of hot air from your system.

2. Insulate Pipes

Any pipe that is exposed or runs along the wall is a hazard because the water inside can freeze. It can cause the bursting of the pipe when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent these series of events from occurring, insulate your pipes. It is simple enough by wrapping the pipe insulation around the pipe and fixing it with duct tape. 

Is It Important to Insulate PVC Pipes For The Winter?

Yes, insulating PVC pipes for the winter is crucial, especially in areas where temperatures drop below freezing.

PVC pipes, like many other plumbing materials, are prone to damage from freezing temperatures. When the water in the pipes freezes, it expands, putting pressure on the pipes, which can result in leaks, cracks, or even bursts. These issues can lead to costly repairs and property damage. The good thing is they can all be prevented.

Properly insulating your PVC pipes can prevent these problems, helping to ensure that your plumbing system runs smoothly during the winter season.

Frozen PVC Pipes

What Are the Benefits Of Insulating PVC Piping

Insulating PVC pipes for the winter can provide several benefits that can save you time, money, energy and resources on repairs that can be easily avoided. These benefits include:

Prevents Freezing

Insulating PVC pipes creates a barrier between the cold air outside and the water inside the pipes. This barrier prevents the heat from escaping the pipes, keeping the water inside at a consistent temperature. When the water inside the pipes is at a consistent temperature, it reduces the risk of freezing.

Insulation materials like foam or fiberglass also have insulating properties that trap heat and prevent it from escaping the pipes. By keeping the heat in and the cold out, insulating PVC pipes can help prevent freezing, reducing the risk of damage to the pipes and the plumbing system.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Insulating your PVC pipes, especially during the winter, can improve the energy efficiency of your home’s plumbing system in two main ways:

  1. Reducing heat loss: When hot water flows through uninsulated pipes, it loses heat, and as a result, the water cools down. This means that the water heater has to work harder and use more energy to maintain the desired temperature. However, by insulating the pipes, the heat loss is minimized, meaning that the water will stay hot for longer, and the water heater won’t have to work as hard to maintain the desired temperature. As a result, your energy bills will be lower.
  2. Faster hot water delivery: Insulating the hot water pipes in your plumbing system can also improve energy efficiency by providing hot water faster to your faucets and showers. When the hot water travels through insulated pipes, it retains its temperature better and arrives at the fixture more quickly, reducing the amount of time you need to run the water before it gets hot. This can help reduce water waste and energy usage.

Controlling Condensation

Insulating PVC pipes can help to control condensation that can form on the surface of cold pipes by preventing the temperature of the pipe from dropping below the dew point temperature of the surrounding air.

When warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a PVC pipe, the moisture in the air can condense and form water droplets on the surface of the pipe. This can be a particular problem in humid environments, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, and can potentially cause health hazards.

Insulation works by creating a barrier between the cold surface of the PVC pipe and the surrounding air. The insulation material helps to slow down the transfer of heat from the pipe to the air, which keeps the surface of the pipe above the dew point temperature. This reduces the likelihood of moisture condensing on the surface of the pipe and can help to prevent problems such as corrosion, mold growth, and damage to building materials.

How Do I Insulate PVC Pipes?

Insulating PVC pipes for the winter is a relatively straightforward process that can be completed with a few basic tools and materials. Here are the steps to insulate your piping:

  1. Gather materials: You will need insulation material such as fiberglass or foam pipe insulation, scissors or a utility knife, and tape.
  2. Measure the pipes: Measure the length of the PVC pipes you want to insulate. You will need enough insulation material to cover the entire length of the pipes.
  3. Cut the insulation: Cut the insulation material to the length of your pipes using scissors or a utility knife. Make sure to leave space for any fittings or valves.
  4. Wrap the insulation: Wrap the insulation around the PVC pipes, making sure that it covers the entire length of the pipes. Use tape to secure the insulation in place. You can also use zip ties or wire to secure the insulation if necessary.
  5. Seal the ends: To prevent air from getting in, make sure to seal the ends of the insulation with tape. You can also use special insulation tape or heat-shrink tubing to create a more secure seal.
  6. Repeat: Repeat the process for any other PVC pipes you want to insulate.

Insulating is a simple and effective way to prevent freezing, reduce energy costs, and extend the lifespan of your plumbing system. With just a few tools and materials, you can protect your pipes from the harsh winter weather and ensure that your home stays warm and comfortable.

When Is The Right Time?

It’s a good idea to insulate your PVC pipes before the winter months arrive to ensure that your pipes are protected from freezing temperatures. Ideally, you should insulate your pipes in the fall before the first frost hits. This will give you enough time to properly insulate your pipes and ensure that they are prepared for colder temperatures.

If you live in an area with a particularly harsh winter, it’s best to insulate your pipes as soon as possible to avoid any damage. Frozen pipes can cause a lot of damage to your plumbing system and can be expensive to repair, so it’s important to take preventative measures early on.

Ensure You Get it Completed

Insulating PVC pipes for the winter is essential, especially in areas where temperatures drop below freezing. Not doing so could require pvc piping replacement.

With simple materials such as fiberglass or foam pipe insulation, scissors or a utility knife, and tape, insulating PVC pipes is a straightforward process that can save you time, money, and energy. Insulating your PVC pipes before the next winter season rolls in will ensure that your plumbing system runs smoothly, and you won’t have to worry about the detrimental effects of freezing temperatures.

3. Seal the Hard Surfaces

If your driveway, patio, or walkways are concrete, ensure their protection. Apply a concrete sealer at some intervals to prevent cracks. All concrete surfaces eventually get cracked but the cracking can be limited by control joints. Fill in the cracks before applying the sealer or water will freeze in the cracks. 

If your driveway is asphalt, seal it as well. Getting the sealing done by a company is not too expensive or you can buy a bucket or sealer and apply it with a roller. 

4. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Winter is the season in which more fires happen due to the use of heating systems and firewood. During winter, the doors and windows are kept tightly closed to prevent any stray wind from entering the house. It can cause an accumulation of carbon monoxide released from the fire. So, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and renew their batteries to lessen the hazard. If you do not have CO detectors in your home, it is smart to get some. Make sure that your furnace and water heater are properly ventilated because these cause the most fires. 

5. Shut Down the Pool

If you have a pool in your home, make sure it is properly shut down before the winters hit, it is worth the cost of getting professional help in this matter. Fall is a good time to hire a contractor and gets your pool hefty maintenance because in spring the contractors are busy. 

A proper shutdown of the sprinkler system is also very important. The system requires the lines to be blown out. It is better to cut it down properly than to replace the lines with new ones next year. The outside faucet system is completely unprotected and the water will freeze in it in the winter which can cause flooding of the basement. It is better to drain the line before winters start.

6. Cover your Floor with Carpets

Floors are generally cold. They can, however, be frozen stiff during frigid conditions. You may want to crank up your thermostat if you love walking barefoot around your house. Doing that may lead to high power bills, however. The most effective solution is to cover your floors with rugs and carpets instead of setting your thermostat high.

Another way to keep your feet warm around the house is wearing warm socks. You can also wear slippers when walking around your home. 

Carpet

7. Cover your Windows

Most of your house heating energy escape through windows. Lost energy account for a large percentage of the total energy produced. This then accords you the lowest-hanging fruit on reducing heating costs this winter. You only need to cover your windows properly. You can do that by Installing floor-length covers. Their benefits are two-fold. First, they will block cool air from entering the house. Second, they will trap the generated heat inside your home. 

Call your local technician if you notice that your windows are rusty and old to withstand the winter season. Be sure to undertake window repairs before the chilly winter months.  

Curtains

8. Transition to Tankless Water Heater 

Consider investing in a tankless water heater. This type of heater can cut your heating bill by supplying you with hot water in your time of need rather than maintaining a huge volume of hot water even when you don’t need it.

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