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Front Page » October 23, 2003 » Local News » Winterizing residences before cold season hits
Published 3,836 days ago

Winterizing residences before cold season hits


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter

Although Carbon County has experienced higher than normal temperatures during the past several weeks, it is only a matter of time before the weather changes and winter settles in the valley. However, now is the time for local residents to winterize homes before the cold weather arrives.

When temperatures drop, the first thing that homeowners tend to do is crank up the furnace. Before turning up the thermostats, Carbon County residents are reminded to checkheating systems.

According to home care professionals, it is a good idea to have an expert inspect the heating system once a year. If this is not done, homeowners are advised to check the system themselves.

When doing so, make sure that no flammable materials are near the heating unit.

Also, replace any filters and vacuum dust from vents or other heating elements that have remained idle throughout the summer months.

Finally, if propane tanks are used for fuel have them filled before the weather changes.

Fireplaces should also be checked and prepared for winter.

While the weather is still warm, clean the fireplace and the chimney.

Debris can collect in a chimney and can create a fire hazard once the fireplace is lit. In order to reduce the amount of debris which enters the chimney unit, homeowners can install a screen over the top of the chimney.

Homeowners are advised to check throughout the home for any drafts or sources where cold air may enter the structure. Prime locations include windows, doorways and air conditioners.

Carbon County residents may cut down costs on their monthly heating bill by trapping any unwanted cold air outside of the home. The most common way to do so is to inspect each window.

According to home improvement experts, only about 10 percent of heat is lost through the glass in a window while the rest is lost from around the window frame.

To determine if a window needs weather stripping around the sides, experts recommend that homeowners wait for a cool, windy day and slowly move the back of a hand around the window's perimeter. If air is coming in, the window will need to be sealed. The same thing can be done to doorways.

Window screens should also be removed during the winter months. According to experts, even fine mesh screening blocks up to 20 percent of the sunlight that could help warm the home.

Although it is recommended that air conditioning units be drained and covered during the winter, it is especially important to do so to window cooling units. These units allow cold air in easily and can make heating a home close to impossible.

It is best to remove window style air conditioners if possible. If not, people should cover the units from the outside in order to prevent any cold air from entering the home.

Cold weather can cause serious damage to plumbing systems. Therefore, Castle Valley residents should take care of any outside water sources before the cold weather arrives.

To do so, residents should drain all in-ground lawn sprinklers which will prevent them from freezing. Garden hoses should also be drained and stored inside. All outdoor faucets should be drained to ensure that ice does not form and cause pipes to burst. And finally, homeowners can make sure that outdoor water sources do not freeze by turning off the main outdoor valve.

Never leave hoses attached to outside faucets through the winter.

Water trapped in the hoses can get into the hydrant and often will split it so that it will need to be replaced in the spring.

Indoor plumbing should also be inspected prior to winter. Any exposed pipes in unheated areas of a home could freeze.

Make sure the pipes are properly insulated before it's too late.

Winterizing a home before the temperatures drop is the best way to ensure a warm, trouble free winter for Carbon County homeowners.


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