If you live in South Texas like us, you may be thinking that the icy cold months of winter are still far off in the distance. But as unpredictable as the Texas weather can be, it’s best to begin preparing for the winter season during the fall. Here are three tips every homeowner should begin working on now to ensure they don’t get left out in the cold.
1. Have your furnace serviced to avoid wasted energy and dollars. First thing is first: schedule an appointment with your local HVAC technician to make sure your furnace is working safely and efficiently. Your furnace is equipped with several safety features, such as switches and limits, that are programmed to shut-off your furnace if, and when, needed. The safety features switch on when occurrences, such as flames escaping the furnace, begin to wander beyond the furnace’s “boundary.” They can also kick in if the temperature in a certain area begins to rise too high, too quickly. Your technician will also make sure there are no gas leaks on the furnace itself or around the furnace, which is a health hazard if you’re breathing in too much natural gas. If your unit is leaking gas, not only could it be hazardous, you lose money on wasted energy that is not being used. Another perk to having your furnace serviced is that the technician will clean the blower off to ensure it’s not gunked-up and causing your furnace to work in overdrive.
2. Wrap your pipes. To prepare for the winter freeze, make sure to properly wrap any exposed water pipes with insulation. Exposed pipes are those that are outside of the home and coming directly out of the ground. We recommend keeping insulation on pipes and hose bibs year-round. You never know when a sudden and surprise freeze will come along, especially for those living in South Texas.
If you do not have the proper insulation on your pipes, they will likely freeze and build up with ice. The frozen water will travel to the areas of the pipe that are not well insulated. Once the frozen water begins to completely freeze, the ice expands and breaks the pipes. The worst comes when the frozen pipe begins to thaw; the water then leaks out.
This tends to happen with underground pipes that are buried shallowly underground. This can also travel into the pipes inside your home, and if the pipe isn’t protected by an insulated wall, you may not find out you have a problem until you see water damage seeping through the drywall.
3. Insulate hose bibbs. In addition to wrapping pipes, homeowners should insulate hose bibbs. Hose bibbs are the spouts that turns on the faucet to your outdoor water lines. At the big box store, you can find all kinds of insulating bags and covers for your hose bibbs. To properly cover your hose bibb, simply disconnect your water hose and cover the bib with proper insulation. Hose bibb covers are easily removable and replaceable so that you can still use your hose during the day.
4. Check your in-home detectors. Once you’ve been using your furnace, it’s good to make sure your family is safe by checking that your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors work properly and that you have new batteries installed. Your HVAC technician can also check these while servicing your furnace. If you need a replacement for your detectors, ask your technician or purchase one at any big box store.
Schedule your furnace check today and ask about our Furnace Safety Check special.