Freeze-Proof Your Home This Winter

January 23, 2023

Warmer months have come and gone, and even though winters in Cleveland aren’t so traditional anymore, there is always a risk of frigid temperatures. A cold snap isn’t just hard to get around in, it can also be very damaging to your home. This is especially true if you tend to take a winter trip and are away from home when the cold hits. 

freeze proof home

At Fairview Home Improvement we want to help you make the most of your home, whether it’s a starter or a forever address. So along with our various services and recommended products, we’re also here with our best tips for avoiding a winter freeze this and every winter. How to winter proof your home? Keep right on reading!

Start With the Exterior

Building a strong foundation that prevents cold temperatures from infiltrating in the first place is a great way to make your home a freeze-proof house. We often think of sealing cracks or gaps in and around windows and doors and this is definitely a vital task to prevent frost from developing on interior surfaces and to keep chilling winds at bay. If you are in need of window repair to preserve a safe and comfortable indoor environment, or would like to add a modern storm door for all-weather protection, don’t hesitate to give our team a call.

Your home’s vinyl siding shouldn’t be overlooked either. Siding acts as your home’s first line of defense, and so any sections that are past the point of repair really need to be replaced in order to prevent freezing temperatures from making their way indoors. 

Where a deep freeze could really wreak havoc is on your home’s plumbing system. That’s why it’s so important to take a few simple steps in late fall to avoid preventable catastrophes. For instance, garden hoses don’t just risk forming leaks and breaking down in a deep freeze, but they can also cause burst indoor pipes if they remain connected to your outdoor spigot. If that spigot is on, you can imagine just how bad that could end if temperatures dip well below freezing. What to do? 

  • Detach and drain all hoses
  • Turn off water flowing to outdoor spigots that are not frost-proof
  • Protect outdoor spigots with insulated covers

Another potential source of unwanted water could be clogged gutters. If debris is not cleared, then water will pool in gutters, unable to drain away. When temperatures drop, that water will freeze and could back up into interior spaces, compromising the structure of your home and even damaging the foundation layers of your roof. If you’re noticing excessive ice buildup and unusual amounts of dripping during thaws, it could be time to look into gutter repair.

Interior Protection

Once you have outside water lines protected you can shore up any exposed water lines in your attic, crawl space, or garage with heat tape and insulation wrap. You may want to look into adding more insulation to exterior walls themselves. And if there are colder areas in your basement, it can’t hurt to insulate exposed lines there as well.

Here are a few specific steps you can take prior to leaving home for a holiday trip or much-needed vacation to avoid coming home to a watery mess:

  • If possible and permissible, shut off the main water line
  • Drain all faucets and leave both hot and cold lines slightly open
  • Turn water off at each fixture
  • Open up doors on cabinets that house plumbing to allow for warm air flow

These steps could sound like a chore, but believe us–cleaning up after frozen and then burst water pipes is the job that no one wants to tackle. Prevention is always easier than the cure.

Plan Ahead

In case of a power outage due to heavy ice or snow loads, your home can quickly go from comfortable to dangerously cold. The answer here is to diversify both your heat and energy sources. 

Whether you opt for a backup, whole-house unit or a portable model, having a generator on deck is a key way to prevent winter’s worst from doing a number on your home. Backup generators are tied directly into your home’s electrical system and, if properly maintained, they will snap into action the moment you lose electricity. A more budget-friendly alternative is a portable generator that will at least allow you to run a few necessities until the power is restored. Just be sure that you buy a model with enough startup wattage for all the items you plan to power. 

Word of Caution: Always make sure that your generator is running outside, in a ventilated space that’s well away from your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning is lethal and not to be messed with.

Relying entirely on electric heat sources could also spell trouble if electric lines are down. Consider adding a small wood burning stove, pellet stove, or artificial fireplace that burns natural gas, kerosene, or propane. Having a heat source that doesn’t depend on electricity can be a lifeline to you and your home in a winter storm. Whatever that source is, be sure you have plenty of fuel on hand going into winter.

Be Ready for Worst-Case

Another key part of a freeze-proof house is planning for how to manage living in your home if a big temperature drop does come. Even if you have a generator at the ready, if the power goes out at night, you’ll need some basic supplies to ensure that you can get your home back up and running. These could include flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, and plenty of warm clothing and blankets. Pets will also need to be cared for during this time, so be ready to give them a warm spot to shelter until the worst of the weather has passed and temperatures warm a bit. 

Call on Your Local Home Improvement Experts

At Fairview Home Improvement we know that it takes a lot to keep your home going strong all year long. But with just a few seasonal tasks you can ensure that one of your biggest investments stays safe and sound during even the worst winter storm. The positive trade off is that any upgrades or modifications you make will also benefit your home during summer’s hottest days. If you’re planning any replacements or repairs, those are ideally done when temperatures are fair. So put new tasks on your spring, summer, or fall to-do list and contact the team at Fairview Home Improvement for help.

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