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Suggestions With regard to Winterizing Ones House

Finding the time to ready your home for winter throughout the year causes some damage in your pocket.
The majority store away their summer months outfits and bring out the coats, scarves and warm hats, but how about the house – will it be prepared to face the test of Old Man Winter?

Whatever you need to get prepared for climate changes each home takes a custom set of duties to keep it sealed tight till warmer weather.

Local specialists along with residents weighed in to lay out the actions homeowners must take in autumn to avoid situations during winter and save money.

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Weather depending, the winterization process is typically carried out in mid-November.
Though switching off water does not apply to lower-elevation homeowners, there isn’t any more important thing than that for second homeowners and those vacationing in the Mother Lode high country.

“Always winterize, which suggests shut your water off and drain your lines in the cold months,” said Doug Shinn, owner/broker of Cedar Creek Realty in Arnold.

Shinn said this rule is applicable to second homeowners year-round because of the overwhelming consequences of unexpected leaks.
He and his wife travelled for a two-week trip without turning their water off and came back to a disaster.

“We came home and had a plumbing leak on the second floor with $30,000 in damage.”
Leaks can take place for a variety of reasons. It can be caused by a pressure surge, faulty plumbing, old rusty pipes or burst frozen pipes.

“If it’s as a second home and you’re simply away, it is possible to come home to discover thousands of gallons at your residence and thousands of damage,” Shinn said. “If you have a leak, it generates lots of disruption in your life with blowers, dehumidifiers and cleanup. If you confer with insurance companies, water’s one of the biggest cause of damage in the house, more so than fire.”

The main reason draining pipes is really essential throughout the cold winters in the high country is that at the time of hard freezes, the water in the pipes swells through freezing and breaks the pipe.

“It will blow a hole right in the copper piping,” Shinn said. “Then, when the weather changes and it thaws out, the flood follows.”

The easiest way to defend against this horrible mess would be to switch off the water coming into a home using the main valve.

“Anywhere where there is Calaveras County Water District service, CCWD doesn’t want the water turned off at the meter,” Shinn said. “Everyone should have a main valve installed at the house. That would typically be located in a box along the foundation or in the sub-area.”

When the water main is switched off, Shinn suggests switching on a faucet at the lowest portion of the house to empty the water out of the home’s water system. It’s a wise idea to put antifreeze in all the drains, including tubs and showers, in order to keep any remaining water from freezing. All toilets flushed and antifreeze should be poured into the toilet tanks and bowls.

Every last faucet and hose bibs should be left open.

Each house is unique, and Shinn said the top plan would be to contact a professional to have a look at your house and make specific ideas for individual homes. Don’t try to fix an unbroken situation prior to it occuring, you’ll find yourself making things worse in the long run.

Frost protection

Carl Sisco has lived in Forest Meadows for many years and follows an annual ritual to protect his home from the elements of weather.
“I always check my outside water faucets,” he said. “I like to protect them by wrapping them or putting a cover on them. I also drain my hoses, because they can freeze and split.”
“Homeowners can do things like putting heat tape on that puts a small electric charge around the pipe that keeps it warm and avoids freezing,” Shinn said. “You can also certainly wrap pipes with insulation.”

“Most every home in high country that’s used, the owners will discover whether it works the way it is or whether there are weak points that will freeze.
“The best thing is to be employing a plumber during the nice summer months to do a thorough analysis and recommendations, and fixing things during July, rather than facing a flood or lack of water in the middle of January because you didn’t plan ahead.” Never wait until the last minute to try to figure things out.

Cleaning gutters and roof

Whether a house is high in the mountains or near the Central Valley, blowing off the roof and clearing the gutters of leaves and debris is very important.

“I blow my roof off using a high-powered gas blower about four times a year,” Sisco said. “Pine needles and leaves build up. I also check to make sure that nothing has happened to the roof and that no branches have fallen on it. If you don’t get the debris off, moss will start growing and then you really have a problem.”

Sisco also said that unless a roof is clear, the debris can channel water onto small areas of the roof and cause damage.

“Always take care of the rain gutters,” he continued. “Make sure they are completely cleaned out and test the downspouts with a hose.”
Sisco recommends installing Leaf Guard gutters, which make the process much easier.

Clogged gutters can damage eves, erode landscaped areas when spilling over and cause flooding within the home.

Heating element

Checking the source of heating in the house before it’s needed is important so that necessary repairs can be made without homeowners being left in the cold, literally.
Sisco said he checks his furnace to make sure that it will turn on and off, it has a clean filter, no debris is blocking the air intake and the fan is blowing properly.
It’s not a bad idea to have a furnace cleaned and tuned annually by a professional. Furnace filters should be checked monthly throughout the winter months.
Many foothill residents like to gather around a woodstove or fireplace. If that’s the case, homeowners should make sure to have an ample wood supply that is covered by a tarp before the rain or snow starts bareling in.

Even though cleaning the stovepipe is generally a springtime chore, it’s a good idea to make sure the pipe isn’t clogged before winter sets in.
One easy way to protect a chimney is to buy a protective cap for the opening that will help keep out foreign objects.

One of the best ways to save money on energy bills is to invest in good insulation for the home. This can be expensive, but it quickly pays for itself with the cost savings on utility bills.
Rico Oller, owner of Sequoia Insulation in San Andreas, said homeowners would be smart to have insulation that is at least R-38 in their attics. Insulations “R-value” is a measure of its ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the value, the better the thermal performance, and the less you will spend on your heating bills, who can argue with that.
“Thickness is not necessarily relevant,” Oller said. “It depends on the manufacturer.”

“It it’s an open attic, the upgrade can be made for anywhere from $0.50 top $1.00/sqft. If they have 1,200sqft home, they’re looking at $600 to $1,200.”
A general rule of thumb is: If homeowners can see the ceiling joists, there isn’t enough insulation in the attic.

Homes that use central heat can lose up to 60 percent of heated air before it reaches vents throughout the home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The key to preventing this is making sure the ductwork is well-connected and insulated to allow the hot air to travel throughout the house with minimal loss.
While most ducts are hidden in out-of-the-way locations, it’s not a bad idea to put on your work clothes give them a good look at.
Easy repairs can be made to pinched pipes, insulation can be added in areas and metal-backed tape can seal gaps.

Ducts should also be vacuumed once every couple of years to removed dust, hair and other debris that can contribute to respiratory problems.
This makes for a healthy and safer environment and little cost to your family.

Check for leaks
Huge amounts of heat can be lost through small leaks in a home. To find them, light an incense stick and walk around the home when it’s breezy outside. Once the leaks are located, use caulking or tacky rope to fill them. Door sweeps and gaskets for electrical outlets can be easily installed to stop cold air from seeping into the home.

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Miscellaneous tips
One thing many people forget to do is reverse the ceiling fans. Reversing the fan will push warm that collects near the ceiling back down into the living space. Blades will turn clockwise if they are set for winter.
Check all household alarms to make sure they are functioning properly. Change the batteries on all smoke detectors and press the “test” bottom. If the home has a fire extinguisher, make sure it’s not outdated and is still functioning. Any household that does not have at least one carbon monoxide detector is at great risk.

Each house is different, and Shinn said the top strategy is to try to contact a professional to have a look at the house and make specific tips for individual homes.

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