Last year, AccuWeather forecast called for a warmer, drier winter with a forecast low of 31 degrees for our coldest month in February. That would have been mild, as DFW has experienced an average of 28 frosts per winter over the past two decades.
So much for the prognosis. For seven days, starting on February 9, 2022, DFW International Airport recorded minus degrees for 158 hours in a row and fell two degrees below zero for two days!
Is your home ready for freezing weather?
We hope there won’t be a repeat this winter, but hope is not a plan. Every fall, the increased indoor activity puts a strain on the plumbing systems, making them prone to developing leaks in winter. With cold days and nights ahead of us, you should have your furnace checked for gas leaks or broken and defective parts.
Tips for wintering plumbing work
Don’t let these mild autumn days give you false security. Wintering lasts more than a day or two. So if you haven’t started yet, now is the time.
Exposed water pipes: Make sure water pipes in crawl spaces, attics, garages, sheds, and other exposed areas are wrapped with insulating foam or fiberglass jackets. They are slotted on one side so you can simply cut them to the length you want and place them over the pipe and secure with tape. It’s available at most hardware stores.
Hoses and outdoor taps: When you are done using garden hoses and outside taps for the season, disconnect and drain the hoses and keep them inside. Do not leave any hoses connected to the taps when it is frosty. The faucet can be outside, but the water line is on the other side of your inside wall. Cover the faucet with a foam insulator. If a faucet leaks or doesn’t close completely, it might just need a new washing machine, but in some cases the faucet will need to be replaced by a licensed plumber.
Irrigation system: In warmer climates, many people don’t bother to blow the water off their sprinkler systems to winterize them because most frosts there are neither deep nor persistent. A plumber or irrigation specialist can get the job done quickly and make sure the system doesn’t freeze.
Maintenance of the water heater: Most of us take water heaters for granted until the day they stop working. Regular water heater maintenance is the best way to avoid problems and to extend the life of your water heater. If your heater is not getting enough hot water or you can hear it making noise, have a professional check it out. Now is the best time to make sure your water heater is healthy and ready for its winter workout.
Well water pumps: Make sure your water pump is well insulated, especially if it’s in an uninsulated shed or box. Fiberglass insulation clubs will do the job well. Have a heat lamp handy for extra protection on particularly cold days.
Water shut-off valve for the whole house: Find the shut-off valve for your house so that you can shut off the water supply to the house in the event of a pipe or connection break. Some homes have shut-off valves in the garage or under the ground that are covered by a metal or plastic cover. You can of course park the whole house at the water meter near the street, but it is easier and faster if you have an emergency cordon near the house.
If you haven’t used the emergency shutdown or have recently serviced it, have a plumber inspect it. These valves can develop plaque buildup that makes it impossible to turn the handle. If you force it, you can break it.
HVAC system tips
Plumbing systems are more susceptible to freezing temperatures than HVAC systems. As long as you have fuel and electricity to run the stove and it is in good condition, it will keep your home warm.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular maintenance by having the heating system refreshed every fall. Not only do heating systems last longer and cost less to operate, they are also safer.
A cracked or damaged heat exchanger can release carbon monoxide into your air ducts and vents. This deadly gas is odorless and invisible. We recommend placing carbon monoxide alarms in key locations near electrical outlets in your home.
Start winterproof with billyGO now!
Get billyGO now! and let us make you winterproof. With billyGO you always set the day and time of your appointment and this is very easy with the billyGO online appointment planner.
For just $ 99 a year you can get:
- Heating adjustments to all HVAC equipment in your home
- Air conditioning tunings on all your systems
- Plumbing tunings
- 15% discount on the BillyGO standard price
- Priority planning
- Guaranteed appointment for one hour
Isn’t it time to try billyGO?