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Winter weather is finally here! If you haven’t yet gone through the winter protection checklist for your home, it’s important to make a priority of it. Below-freezing temperatures, snow, wind and ice can all cause their own unique forms of damage. By taking the right steps, you can make sure that your home – and bank account – won’t need to face emergency plumbing repairs.

While the best time to complete this list is before the temperatures drop in the first place, it’s better done late than never. The sooner you go through this home winter-proofing checklist, the lower your risk of experiencing damage that require extensive cleanup and costly repairs.

Use the following checklist to make sure you have covered many of the major preventable forms of common winter damage:

• Insulate pipes – any pipes located in areas near the exterior or that are located in places without heating should be properly insulated with heat tape or thermostat-controlled heating cables. Common areas for pipes to need attention include those in your crawl space, garage and other unheated spaces. This will help to prevent pipes from freezing, bursting and flooding your home.
• Open cabinet and vanity doors – during cold weather, open up cabinet and vanity doors to let the house heat in. You can either open them all the way or prop them partway open, as long as air is allowed to exchange. This makes sure warm heat from your home can reach the pipes under the counter so they won’t have the chance to freeze. Incidentally, it can also help to prevent products stored under the counter from freezing and being ruined when they’re not meant to be allowed to freeze.
• Close exterior house vents – air exchange vents to crawl spaces, foundations and other areas of the home should be closed from the outside during the winter. This helps to keep the cold air from continuing to enter your home. It will also help to prevent pipes from freezing while reducing your home heating costs.
• Drain and disconnect garden hoses and bibs – water left in the garden hose or even within its faucet or the pipes that lead from the house to the faucet can freeze, expand and split your garden hose and/or cause the pipe to burst. Detach the garden hose and drain it, then turn off the pipe from the interior and drain it from the outside. If you don’t have an indoor shut-off valve or if you can’t find it, and we’ll help you to find it before winter can have the chance to cause its damage.
• Keep your heat on while you’re away – whether you’re at work or are headed away on vacation, you should always leave your heat on. You can turn the temperature down, but make sure it’s keeping your home warm enough to control moisture and the risk of freezing. That way, you’ll know that you won’t return to a preventable disaster.

If you need any help to make your way through this home winter-proofing checklist, don’t hesitate to call us at McLoughlin Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling. Our experts will make sure that a few simple, affordable steps will protect your home throughout the winter.