Last-minute weatherization could help thwart deep freeze - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Last-minute weatherization could help thwart deep freeze

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This week could bring the coldest air Louisville has felt in the past 15 to 20 years with wind chill values of 20 to 30 degrees below zero, and people may feel the deep freeze even indoors.

Todd Perkins, owner of Home Makeover Kentucky, provided several tips for winterizing the home:
  • Have you heating system serviced by a contractor who's a member of Air Conditioning Contractors of America. The contractor will clean the system, make sure it is running efficiently, and has no carbon monoxide leakage.
  • Clean your gutters to prevent icicles and dams.  When the ice melts it can work its way up between the shingles and roof sheathing causing water damage to your roof.
  • Check your roof for damaged, loose or missing shingles.  This can also lead to damage due to snow and ice melting.  A good contractor can repair a few missing shingles for around $100.
  • If you notice snow melting off your roof faster than other roofs in your area you may need to have a contractor check the amount of insulation in your attic.  Our climate is cold enough that the building codes recommend R-38 value for attic insulation.  You can check this by having 16" of insulation in your attic.  Every 4 inches of blown fiberglass insulation represent a R-10 value.  Last year (2013) the government offered a tax credit of 10% up to $500 spent on insulating your home.
  • Make sure your downspouts are draining 5-10 feet away from your home.  You can use 4" black corrugated drain pipe.  This will help keep water away from your foundation, driveway and sidewalks.  Freezing water can cause hydraulic pressure and result in cracks.

  • Drain lawn irrigation systems if you have one.  Sprinkler service will do this for around $150.

  • Wait until late winter to prune your shrubs or trees.

  • Make sure your foundation vents are closed if you have a crawl space.  This helps keep cold winds out from under your home which results in energy loss and protection pipe freeze.

  • Exterior caulking around windows and doors.  If the crack is the thickness of a nickel or more use a good silicone which will not shrink or crack.  Clear works well and tends to look better than white or other colors if you don't have a lot of experience.

  • Install weather stripping around doors that don't seal well.  Also install door sweep at the bottom if the old one is torn or in bad condition.

  • Install a window insulation kit which consist of thin plastic sheathing and a double sided tape to the interior trim around windows to help prevent drafty window energy loss.

  • Shut off outside faucets.  Remove water hoses that may be attached.  Once you shut the valve off inside, it is a good idea to open the valve outside to let any water run out.

  • Test your sump pump to make sure it is working properly in case of a pipe burst.

  • Locate your main water shut off and test to make sure it is working properly.    

  • Keep items like snow shovel, ice melt, flash light handy in case of storm. 

  • Have your chimney inspected by a chimney sweep to make sure it is ready to burn.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and check to see if they are working properly.
  • Remove window air conditioners from windows.  If you have a fixed window unit you can install a insulated liner over them.
  • When running a generator for power due to outage never run it inside home or basement or even in the garage.  Be sure to place it outside about 15 inches from the house to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • It is cheaper to run your furnace than it is to run small room heaters.  They use a lot of electricity to the tune of 4500 watts.  That equals a cost of about .17 cents per hour.  If you run one for 24 hours a day 30 days a month that is a cost of $122 for one room.  Also kerosene heaters are a major fire hazard and can release harmful carbon monoxide.

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