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Extreme Winter Weather Home Care To-Do List

It has been a number of years since the Chicago area was hit with extreme winter weather conditions with subzero long-lasting cold. A few easy tips follow to care for your home in extreme winter weather conditions that will keep your house leak-free and warm during our impending cold spell.

When it gets bitterly cold, there are two very simple things you can do to lower the risk of plumbing leaks.

Two simple things you can do right now to lower the risk of plumbing leaks:

  1. Open the cabinet doors below any plumbing fixtures on an outside wall. Typically this is the kitchen sink, but some bathroom sinks are also on outside walls. At night while everyone is sleeping and the hear temperature is turned down, leave the cabinet doors open. This will allow air to circulate under the sink lowering the risk of a pipe freezing. Otherwise, the cabinet space under the sink can become surprisingly very cold.
  2. Next let any faucet you feel could be at risk of freezing run at a trickle. Much like a waterfall, if the water is moving, even slowly, it should not freeze.

The Furnace Factor and Fix

Most of us have high-efficiency HVAC systems to heat and cool our homes. When the heat is running, it vents the emissions out the exterior wall of the house via a white PVC pipe. Extreme winter weather conditions can cause wind-driven snow to drift and cover this pipe. Once that happens, your furnace will stop working.

This is a safety function so CO emissions do not back up into the house with deadly consequences. CO emissions are loaded with water vapor and can freeze the moment they meet outside air. Check inside the pipe and carefully remove any snow using a broom or shovel. If your furnace stops working but it is clear of snow; go outside and look inside the pipe to see if any ice has formed. If so, carefully chip it away. Start the furnace wait about five to ten minutes and and verify the heat is working.

The difference between this extreme weather system and others

The difference between this extreme winter weather system and others is wind-driven cold. Relentless strong winds beating against an outside wall for hours on end will cause your home to struggle. The middle of a room may be comfortable but the exterior wall facing the wind could be freezing. This can happen no matter how well insulated your home is.

Cheap Insurance

So the lesson with extreme winter weather home care is the concept of “cheap insurance.” By the time you talk yourself out of simply opening a cabinet door, you could have opened those doors and by sitting by the fire enjoying yourself with a nice glass of red wine.

As always, we are here to help.  Please keep us in mind if a room in your home needs a redo, refresh or a complete trendsetting redesign. For this and more tips on ice damming visit our website. And don’t forget to periodically check the weather in your area.

Wine Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash