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Colorado Home Winterization Checklist

December 14, 2017

frozen pipe colorado

Winter’s here—but is your home ready for the cold weather?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry. We’ll cover 5 insanely important tips that will protect your Colorado home throughout the winter.

5 winterization tips we’ll explore include:

  1. Protecting your pipes
  2. Blocking out the cold
  3. Cleaning your fireplace
  4. Changing your thermostat
  5. Getting professional heating system tune-up

Let’s go into more detail about each of these tips...

Need a heating or plumbing expert? We can help. Just give us a call and we’ll quickly send over one of our certified technicians to fix the issue.

Tip #1: Protect your pipes

The last thing you want is to be stuck with frozen pipes this winter. If your pipes freeze, you’ll be left without running water. But a frozen pipe could also mean expensive repairs (when pipes freeze they can burst).

To prevent those problems, you’ll want to protect your indoor and outdoor pipes. Here’s how…

How to protect outdoor pipes

  1. Turn off water at the shut-off valve for each outdoor spigot. Go to each outdoor spigot and faucet and make sure you shut the water off via the water shut off valve, which you’ll usually find in the garage or indoors. Once you close the shut off valve, open the spigot or faucet to drain any remaining water so it doesn’t freeze in the pipes.
  2. Disconnect hoses from outdoor spigots. Remove, drain and store away your hoses for winter.
  3. Purchase hose bibb covers. A hose bibb cover is made of foam and placed over the spigot to keep the pipe from freezing.
  4. Cover pipes for extra protection. You can use heat tape or heat cables to wrap or cover exposed pipes and keep them warm.

How to protect indoor pipes

  • Set your thermostat to 50°–55° when you’re on vacation. That will keep your energy bills low while you’re gone, but it will keep your home warm enough so your indoor pipes won’t freeze. 
  • Open the doors under the sinks in the bathroom and kitchen. This allows warm air to reach piping and prevent them from freezing. 
  • Close the doors that lead to rooms without plumbing fixtures to direct heat to areas with pipes.
  • Run some cold water to keep water moving through the pipes on very cold nights. Moving water, even cold water, helps prevent pipes from freezing. Plus, opening the faucet relieves the pipe of pressure, which reduces the chance of the pipe bursting if it does freeze. But you don’t have to do this all winter—just on very cold nights.

Related reading: Check out our article, “3 Tips to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Colorado” for more information about protecting your pipes.

Tip #2: Block out the cold

Lower winter energy bills starts with keeping the hot air in and the cold air out.

4 ways to block out the cold air include:

  1. Put up thicker curtains with thermal lining for your windows
  2. Add caulk to windows to block outside cold air
  3. Weatherstrip or add draft stoppers to prevent cold drafts
  4. Make sure your home is well-insulated. If certain rooms get colder than others, you may need to add more insulation to your home’s walls and/or attic. You should contact an insulation expert to help you add the right insulation to your home.

Tip #3: Clean your fireplace

A nice, warm fire is perfect for those cold winter nights. But before you build your first fire, have a professional check your fireplace to make sure it’s in good shape.

Here’s why: Since you probably haven’t used your fireplace since last winter, it could be dirty and filled with animal nests or creosote buildup (thick coating of soot/carbon). If debris is blocking your the chimney and you use the fireplace, you risk letting dangerous gases (like carbon monoxide) enter your home, which could cause serious health problems or even death.

So before you use your fireplace, you’ll want to have a professional chimney sweeper remove any debris and make sure your fireplace is safe to use. A professional has the right brushes and tools to remove creosote buildup, debris or dead animals from hard-to-reach spots at top of your chimney. 

Tip #4: Change your thermostat

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider investing in one for the winter season.

Here’s why: A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts your heating schedule so that you never run the heat when you don’t need it. This can save you money when you’re not at home (work days, vacations, etc.) but it still provides you with the comfort you need, when you need it.

For example, if you’re out 8 hours during the day for work, you can program your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature for those 8 hours and then automatically raise it back to your desired temperature right before you get home.

Learn more about programmable thermostats by visiting our smart & programmable thermostat installation page.

Tip #5: Get a professional heating system tune-up

Getting your heating system maintained by a professional helps you in 2 ways:

  1. It saves you money on energy bills
  2. It prevents breakdowns

#1: Maintenance saves you money on energy bills

Think of getting maintenance like changing your car’s oil: Your car performs better when the oil is changed regularly and all the components are working properly. 

Maintenance has the same effect on your heating system: it helps your furnace perform better. When your furnace is at the top of its game, it doesn’t have to work as hard to heat your home, which reduces your monthly energy bill.

#2: Maintenance prevents breakdowns

The LAST thing you want in the middle of winter is for your furnace to break down. Luckily, getting your heating system maintained by a professional before the heating season can prevent a mid-winter breakdown.

A professional will inspect your system to make sure everything is working properly. If there’s something that needs a repair, they’ll alert you and give you a quote on how much it costs to repair the problem. To learn more about heating maintenance, visit our service page about furnace tune-ups.

Need help from a Denver plumber or heating specialist?

Whether you need help preparing your pipes or fixing your furnace, we’ve got you covered.

Just give us a call. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or help you schedule an appointment with one of our trusted techs.

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