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Tip of the month

Time to winterize your home

Winterizing your home can prevent pipes from freezing and cut down on heating costs. Start with the plumbing and specifically the outdoor hose faucets. There are two ways to accomplish this. One is to locate the shut off valve for the hose faucet, turn it off then go outside and unhook the hose and turn on the faucet to let the water drain out. Leave the faucet turned on. The shut off valve for the hose faucet will be in the basement (if you have one) on the pipe that leads to the out door faucet. If this valve hasn't been used for many years it may need to have the washer replaced. Use caution when working on any old plumbing. The valve may also have a drain back cap. This is a small cap that you can remove when the valve has been shut off that will allow water trapped in the pipe to drain out. Hold a bucket under it until all of the water has drained out of the pipe.

On newer homes the shut off valve may be located under a sink inside the house or in the garage. If the house has a crawl space the shut off valves may be located in the crawl space. Some houses have no shut off valves at all.

The easy way to accomplish all of this in one simple step is to go to the hardware store and buy the styrofoam hose faucet covers and simply cover them from the outside. These may not be adequate during extended periods of extremely cold weather.

If your house has a crawl space instead of a basement make sure that the pipes are all insulated. The hardware store will stock easy to install foam insulation sized to fit different types and sizes of pipe.

You can also plug the crawl space vents with styrofoam blocks during the coldest months to help save heat and keep the pipes from freezing. (But be sure to open them up again as soon as the coldest weather has past.) Crawl space ventilation is vital to the continued health of your house.

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Discovery Inspections Inc. • Matthew Gill, President
phone: 503 806-5800 • fax: 503 233 2169 • email: mgill@discoveryinspection.com
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Last Updated: January 13, 2003