Turning off your outdoor faucets sounds simple enough, but each fall many homeowners forget or neglect to winterize the faucets on the outside of their homes. This can be a costly mistake, potentially costing hundreds of dollars in repairs. Water can stay trapped in the pipe behind the faucet and freeze in the cold weather, causing pipes to crack or burst.
The first step to prevent this from happening is to locate each outdoor faucet on your home. Next, you will want to determine the style of your faucet(s). Newer models are generally frost proof. If this is the style of faucet on your home, winterizing is as easy as disconnecting any hoses and turning the water off. In these frost proof models, the valve is located well behind the faucet itself so the flow of water is stopped on the inside of your home. (See picture below)
I f you determine that your faucet is not a frost proof model, you will need to locate shut-off valves that should be installed in your basement leading to your outdoor faucets. You will need to turn these valves off to cut off the water supply to the faucet. Next, you should open the faucet outside and allow the water between the shut-off valve and the faucet to drain out. It is important to note that although all the water may not drain out, as long as the pipe is not full, the remaining water should have enough room to expand without breaking the pipe.
Sitting in front of your fireplace is most likely one of your favorite places to be as the cold weather sets in. Now is a great time to be thinking about the maintenance of your fireplace and chimney so it is giving off that heat and creating the warmth you need this winter.
1. Clean out any old ashes and soot left from previous burning. Go green and use the ashes in your compost. They are a welcome addition to any compost pile.
2. Clean stains off the glass doors of your fireplace. Only clean the glass when it is cool. One option is to use a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water, apply the solution with a sponge, and wipe clean with newspaper.
3. Be sure to do a chimney sweep and cleaning as necessary. Hire a certified chimney sweep. It is recommended to have this done annually to catch problems before they create a need for expensive repairs.
4. While thinking of fireplaces, it’s a great time of year to make sure your smoke detectors are in working order. Make it a habit to change the batteries on your smoke detectors as you turn back the clocks for daylight savings time every year. (This Saturday, November 5, don’t forget!) Also remember to clean around your smoke detectors as excess dust can cause the alarm to go off. Using a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner should do the trick.