If you love snow skiing, winter may be one of your favorite times of year in New Jersey. After all, we’ve got the Poconos practically in our backyard! But the snow and cold that make winter skiing fun can be a whole lot less enjoyable when they ravage your house. And while we may not see the kind of snowfalls that have already pummeled Buffalo this year—you might be surprised at what a simple hard freeze can do.
Even a small (1/8th-inch) crack in a water inside your home can unleash up to 250 gallons of water in your home in one day. If you’re not home when that happens, that can be a real problem! So how can you keep your New Jersey home safe and dry this winter. Here are three simple steps you can take to protect your home.
Keep an Eye on the Thermostat.
Nobody wants to heat an empty house. But there can be a temptation to turn down the thermostat too far in the winter when everyone is at school, or work, or away for a weekend. You don’t need to keep the house at 72º when nobody is around, but don’t set the thermostat below 50º. Remember, it’s often colder where your water pipes are (sometimes in walls exposed to the cold) than it is where your thermostat is located. If you’re going to be gone over a long weekend when the weather is cold, you may want to leave cabinet doors open so that the heat inside the house can reach water pipes.
Take a look outside to keep it warm inside.
Do a quick examination of your exterior walls to check for small cracks that might let in cold air. Look closely at areas that have pipes, electrical outlets, or dryer vents leading from the inside to the outside. If necessary use caulking or insulation to seal any leaks. Oh, by the way . . . did you remember to disconnect your garden hoses in the fall? A frozen garden house can lead to an outside faucet leaking into your house.
Don’t hesitate to insulate.
We generally think about adding insulation to our homes in order to save money on heating bills and to improve comfort. That’s a good idea, but insulation can also help your pipes. If you have a crawl space in your home or an attic where pipes are exposed this—areas that are likely to be exposed to sub-freezing temperatures—this can be a real issue. If simply adding insulation doesn’t provide enough protection, you may want to install heat tape or heat cables.
These three small, simple steps can make a big difference for the safety and comfort of your home this winter.